Broadband internet connections make up the vast majority of internet connections found nationwide in 2013, but even these fast conniptions to the online world can sometimes seem as if they’re too slow to bear. Customers often feel as if they’re not getting the speed they originally paid for when they signed up for their internet service, and that can be a pretty frustrating prospect. Other times, the internet feels so fast that many people want to document it and show it off to friends and family members who will surely be jealous of the new heights reached by a given connection.
In order to do this, customers need to find a website that will test their connection’s latency, jitters, upload speed, and download speed. There’s certainly no shortage of these websites online, and there are a couple of great options that broadband consumers should look into. Before doing that, though, they should understand exactly what goes into testing a broadband speed and why that speed might occasionally seem faster or slower than normal.
Broadband Speed: Where Does it Come From?
The modern marketplace for broadband services typically breaks internet connections down by their maximum throughput for the end user. Most low-end packages range between 5 Mbps and 7Mbps, while higher-end offerings can soar as high as 300 Mbps on some of the nation’s leading service providers. Generally, the maximum internet speed experienced by most consumers will be set by their service provider at the time they begin service. Those speeds can always be adjusted if needs increase or decrease, of course.
Beyond the maximum speed threshold set by service providers, a customer’s internet connection can also be affected by things like ongoing downloads, overall congestion of the network, and the presence of many online users in a community during peak periods. If a connection feels slower in the evening than it is during the day, that’s because it probably is. More people are home, browsing the internet, and streaming videos, than would be the case during the mid-afternoon.
Checking the Speed of an Internet Connection: How and Where to Get it Done
In the quest for greater knowledge about an internet connection’s performance, consumers have no better ally than the speed test website. This type of website uses an application, typically built with Flash, to download and upload single large file. It measures the download and upload speeds accordingly, and also measures factors like jitters and latency. At the end of the test, broadband customers will have a clear picture of their internet connection’s quality.
SpeedTest.Net: A Great Resource for Broadband Customers
The internet’s leading speed test website has an appropriate domain name located at SpeedTest.Net. The company has been around for the better part of a decade, measuring broadband speeds with a Flash-based application that looks something like a vehicle’s speedometer. Every test displays the connection’s overall latency, or lag, as well as its upload and download speeds.
The speeds that result at the end of the test are determined by downloading and uploading a single large file. The latency is measured by determining the time between when the file was requested and when the actual download began. At the end of the test, consumers will see a “grade” assigned to their connection’s speed, as well as a chart that shows how their connection stacks up to others nationwide.
Broadband.Gov Presents a Government Perspective on Broadband Speed
While SpeedTest.net is the leading private company offering broadband speed tests, it’s not the only way to determine a connection’s performance throughout the day. Operated by the Federal Communications Commission, Broadband.Gov is a U.S.-based website that will measure latency, jitters, upload speed, and download speed. The test is conducted in much the same way as the one at SpeedTest.net, but offers a look at the connection’s varying levels of speed throughout the download.
This “jitter” test lets consumers know the margin of error when it comes to their download speed, and it shows how server loads and other factors can impact the performance of a connection. It’s easily the most comprehensive test available online, and should be a top option for customers looking into their connection’s quality.
Great Resources to Determine Internet Speed
With a thorough understanding of how Internet speeds are determined, as well as why they might fluctuate, the speed test tools mentioned here are the best way to gauge a connection’s performance. These tools will make it clear whether a connection is performing how it should be, or whether some other factor might be reducing speeds in some cases. Armed with this knowledge, consumers can then adjust their cable package accordingly and guarantee the best online experience.