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How do I Start to Test my Broadband Speed and Other Speed Test Questions

By Edited Nov 29, 2016 0 0

Broadband Speed - Are you Getting Enough?

The broadband speed test issue is one that has continually bothered so many people. Of course, there are so many speed test sites, but a lot of them do not provide users with results that accurately match the speeds they are actually getting, or going to be getting. A couple of reasons could be behind this, though, but the most important one is that most users do not use the servers that are closest to them.

So How do I Start to Test my Broadband Speed?

To test your broadband speed, the first step is to locate a good speed test tool. With most good sites, you will only need to look for a “start test” or “begin test” button, and you will be on your way. If the site is good enough, it should be able to locate a server near you and then test the download and upload speed of your connection, as well as the ping. The ping simply means how fast it takes for you to get a response from your connection after sending out a request.  With a fast ping, it means you have a more responsive connection. This is important if you are using applications where timing is everything, or if you play online games regularly.

The download speed simply shows how fast you can receive data from the test server. With almost all connections, you will have a higher download speed when compared to the upload speed. This is because typical online activities - like loading web pages and streaming videos - need decent download speeds to work.

Upload Speeds

The upload speed simply has to do with how long it will take you to send data from your computer to other users.   With a faster upload speed, you will be able to send big files through email almost instantly, and also do not have to suffer disconnections when running a video chat.

When your test is completed, you can rerun the test on the same server, or select any other server of your choice. Again, you can only do this if you are on a speed test site that supports testing with various servers.  You need not worry about influence from the servers, though, as it doesn’t affect your internet speed in any way.

With most good speed test sites, you should be able to save your speed test results both as a picture, and on the website, for future reference. You should also be able to compare your speed to what users of the same broadband as you are getting, to see how well it’s holding up against the average.

Common Problems Witnessed when Running Speed Tests

  • Why is the upload test not working while the download test is?

The main reason why this would happen is due to interference from an antivirus or firewall software that you have on your computer. If any of these is intercepting test traffic, the upload speed cannot be tested.  Some examples of software that can exhibit this behaviour are: AVG, Norton and McAfee.  If your firewall is properly configured, you shouldn’t have this problem; but if it is stopping the test, disable it just for the duration of the test. 

  • Why are the results not displaying?

Normally, you should experience a little delay before your results show up on the page. If the results do not show, it could be that you have navigated away from the page that should have the result. Some sites will request that you are logged in to your account before you can access the results of the test.  Again, if you have a plug-in on your browser that prevents adverts from popping up on-screen, then that could equally prevent the results from showing. So, you may have to disable the plug-in or pop-up blocker for a while.

If this does not solve the issue, or you find out that the situation is the same for multiple computers on your network, you may have to restart your router or modem. Most of the time, your routers and modems develop temporary issues that can only be noticed when you try to upload data. With restarting, the issues are normally cleared.

How are the Results of a Speed Test Calculated?

Most sites that run broadband speed tests run over HTTP, and this is important for optimal compatibility. As we’ve already established, the test should cover latency (ping), upload and download speeds.

The broadband speed test issue is one that has continually bothered so many people. Of course, there are so many speed test sites, but a lot of them do not provide users with results that accurately match the speeds they are actually getting, or going to be getting. A couple of reasons could be behind this, though, but the most important one is that most users do not use the servers that are closest to them.

So How do I Start to Test my Broadband Speed?

To test your broadband speed, the first step is to locate a good speed test tool. With most good sites, you will only need to look for a “start test” or “begin test” button, and you will be on your way. If the site is good enough, it should be able to locate a server near you and then test the download and upload speed of your connection, as well as the ping. The ping simply means how fast it takes for you to get a response from your connection after sending out a request.  With a fast ping, it means you have a more responsive connection. This is important if you are using applications where timing is everything, or if you play online games regularly.

The download speed simply shows how fast you can receive data from the test server. With almost all connections, you will have a higher download speed when compared to the upload speed. This is because typical online activities - like loading web pages and streaming videos - need decent download speeds to work.

The upload speed simply has to do with how long it will take you to send data from your computer to other users.   With a faster upload speed, you will be able to send big files through email almost instantly, and also do not have to suffer disconnections when running a video chat.

When your test is completed, you can rerun the test on the same server, or select any other server of your choice. Again, you can only do this if you are on a speed test site that supports testing with various servers.  You need not worry about influence from the servers, though, as it doesn’t affect your internet speed in any way.

With most good speed test sites, you should be able to save your speed test results both as a picture, and on the website, for future reference. You should also be able to compare your speed to what users of the same broadband as you are getting, to see how well it’s holding up against the average.

Common Problems Witnessed when Running Speed Tests

  • Why is the upload test not working while the download test is?

The main reason why this would happen is due to interference from an antivirus or firewall software that you have on your computer. If any of these is intercepting test traffic, the upload speed cannot be tested.  Some examples of software that can exhibit this behaviour are: AVG, Norton and McAfee.  If your firewall is properly configured, you shouldn’t have this problem; but if it is stopping the test, disable it just for the duration of the test. 

  • Why are the results not displaying?

Normally, you should experience a little delay before your results show up on the page. If the results do not show, it could be that you have navigated away from the page that should have the result. Some sites will request that you are logged in to your account before you can access the results of the test.  Again, if you have a plug-in on your browser that prevents adverts from popping up on-screen, then that could equally prevent the results from showing. So, you may have to disable the plug-in or pop-up blocker for a while.

If this does not solve the issue, or you find out that the situation is the same for multiple computers on your network, you may have to restart your router or modem. Most of the time, your routers and modems develop temporary issues that can only be noticed when you try to upload data. With restarting, the issues are normally cleared.

How are the Results of a Speed Test Calculated?

Most sites that run broadband speed tests run over HTTP, and this is important for optimal compatibility. As we’ve already established, the test should cover latency (ping), upload and download speeds.

Download Speed Test

Typically, your computer would have to download small binary files from the web server, and the download would be measured by the testing site in order to determine the connection speed.  From the result of this quick test, the testing site automatically chooses how much data is needed for the main test. The point here is to pick the right amount of data that you can download in 10 seconds, which will help in delivering accurate results and, at the same time, ensure you do not take too long on the tests. In order to prevent caches from affecting the results, random strings are affixed to every download. 

Once the download starts, a minimum of four HTTP threads are used in saturating the connection, so that an accurate measurement can be achieved.  Throughput samples are received at around 30 times for every second.  The samples are grouped into 20 slices, with each slice representing 5% of the total sample.  The fastest 10% and the slowest 10% are then rejected, while the average of the remaining slices is used to decide the final result.

Now, since the test is measuring data that is being transported through Flash over HTTP, a few factors can affect the speed. These are: buffering caused by the many layers between the application and raw data transfer, throughput bursting due to CPU usage and potential protocol overhead. This explains the need to drop the slowest and fastest 10% of the slices as mentioned above.   

Upload Speed Test

With the upload speed test, a little amount of data is generated by the testing package and sent to the webserver. This will help determine the connection speed. With the result generated here, a decent-sized amount of data generated is selected for upload.  The upload test is then run in uniformly-sized bits, and then, they are pushed to the server-side script.  Four HTTP threads are similarly used here, to saturate the speed. The bits are then sorted according to speed, with the fastest half being averaged to take care of any outlying factors like the ones talked about above; and from here, the result is determined.

The process described may not be exact with regard to the platform you are using, but most decent broadband speed test sites work in this manner. 

Typically, your computer would have to download small binary files from the web server, and the download would be measured by the testing site in order to determine the connection speed.  From the result of this quick test, the testing site automatically chooses how much data is needed for the main test. The point here is to pick the right amount of data that you can download in 10 seconds, which will help in delivering accurate results and, at the same time, ensure you do not take too long on the tests. In order to prevent caches from affecting the results, random strings are affixed to every download. 

Once the download starts, a minimum of four HTTP threads are used in saturating the connection, so that an accurate measurement can be achieved.  Throughput samples are received at around 30 times for every second.  The samples are grouped into 20 slices, with each slice representing 5% of the total sample.  The fastest 10% and the slowest 10% are then rejected, while the average of the remaining slices is used to decide the final result.

Now, since the test is measuring data that is being transported through Flash over HTTP, a few factors can affect the speed. These are: buffering caused by the many layers between the application and raw data transfer, throughput bursting due to CPU usage and potential protocol overhead. This explains the need to drop the slowest and fastest 10% of the slices as mentioned above.   

Upload Speed Test

With the upload speed test, a little amount of data is generated by the testing package and sent to the webserver. This will help determine the connection speed. With the result generated here, a decent-sized amount of data generated is selected for upload.  The upload test is then run in uniformly-sized bits, and then, they are pushed to the server-side script.  Four HTTP threads are similarly used here, to saturate the speed. The bits are then sorted according to speed, with the fastest half being averaged to take care of any outlying factors like the ones talked about above; and from here, the result is determined.

The process described may not be exact with regard to the platform you are using, but most decent broadband speed test sites work in this manner. 

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