When we sign up for an Internet service provider, we purchase a package with a specific download and upload speed. Many users would be shocked – and horrified – to discover that what they are getting is in fact not what they paid for.
You might notice from time to time that it seems your downloads are taking an awfully long time. There could be several reasons for this, one of them being that your ISP is actually not providing you with the agreed-upon speed. Verifying if this is the case is actually quite simple – you just need to do an upload and download speed test. These will measure the rates at which your computer is downloading and uploading files. Besides letting you know if you need to knock on the door of your ISP and call them to order, it will also let you know if changes you have made to the way your network is set up have made any noticeable difference in download and upload speed.
There is no shortage of options on the Internet to do such a test. They are free and can be found at many sources. One is located at broadband.gov. A gift to the public by the US Federal Communications Commission, this is more than just a download speed test: it measures several aspects of your connection to the Internet, including upload speed and latency. It gives you results at the end of the test and keeps records in its own filing system so as to get a greater picture of the quality of broadband services across the nation.
Another option is Dan Elwell’s Broadband Speed Test. This one works differently from other Internet-based programs that offer a download speed test, in that it works with Windows directly, rather than over the web. It’s probably the one to go with if you are still working from an older model computer.
Possibly one of the most well-known places to do your download speed test is at Speedtest.net. This program checks upload speed and download speed, though it offers less data on your network latency. As well, since they use multiple channels, the speed reading that you receive may not be the actual speed you are getting from your ISP – unless you use SPEEDbit.
One of the longest existing download speed test programs on the web today is CNET Bandwidth Meter. Simple to work with, it downloads a file to your computer and calculates the bandwidth based on that. And one of the more modern and diverse download speed test services you can find today is Dslreports.com. The company vows that their product is one of the most highly accurate available, and they even offer tests for mobile phone users, as well as giving the standard tests for download and upload speed. Users with slow CPUs however might want to run a parallel test that is not based on an interface built with Flash, since this may skew the results.
Whichever you choose, it’s a wise move to check your download and upload speed through a simple download speed test. You’ll know what you need to do to increase speed and performance, and ensure that you are in fact getting your money’s worth from your ISP.