How to Use the Information Gleamed from Broadband Speed Tests

Rinky Dink Inc

Needless to say, the internet has now become an integral part of the daily lives of millions across the globe. Without it, our ability to communicate would be greatly hindered which, perhaps, explains why connectivity reliability is critical to internet users. A fast internet connection is indeed essential to our entire society. For instance, online gamers often rely on quality broadband connections in order to keep the games they play glitch free while many corporations and businesses require the same when conducting meetings through video conferences or sharing information via instant messaging or email. Even the military and the government, the foundation of British society, are heavily reliant on broadband networks in order to communicate quickly. Without a reliable and quick connection, commanders in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan would not be able to communicate with their Generals on the battlefields leading to loss of life owing to difficulties in strategic planning.

Internet Speed Test

An internet speed test affords internet users the chance to know the results of the fastest download and upload burst rates from one’s location to the location of the selected test server. Since TCP/IP tends to degrade over long distances, it is advisable to select the server closest to you when conducting internet speed tests.

Test results often vary at different times of the day as a result of network congestion etc. So, to get a clear understanding of your average bandwidth burst, try and run the speed test at different times of the day. Below, therefore, we take a look at 5 reasons why you should frequently undertake a broadband speed test and what you ought to do with the resultant information as follows:

1. To establish broadband speed

While this may seem rather obvious as explained above, the world of broadband speeds still remains a mystery to many internet users which is why a speed test is a useful tool to simply give you a rough idea of what you are getting- whether you are crawling at a snail’s pace, zooming across, or just chugging along in cyberspace. Once you have established your connection speed, you are likely to get a better understanding of what quality levels you can stream videos in, how long it will take to undertake downloads, and how many users can comfortably get online using your connection etc.

2. To ensure that you get exactly what you pay for

While Internet Service Providers (ISPs) always provide customers with a rough idea of what speeds they are signing up for, in practice, this does not always measure up. A speed test will thus help you see what speeds you are actually getting rather than what you might get. Remember, while you are unlikely to get the speeds advertised on the package (and which is essentially in order), if you signed up for, say, 30Mb download speeds and are only getting 5Mb, then there is a problem.

So, if you are getting less than what you signed up for, it may be time to cancel your contract and switch to a package on an alternative network.

3. To help you identify a new ISP package

For those of us who are not telecommunications experts, those 'up to’ numbers that are displayed on ISP packages could just about mean anything to a layman. While 40Mb may seem fast, how much faster is 80Mb or 100Mb? Well, this is where speed tests come in. Once you are aware of what speeds you are currently getting, you will be in a better position to pick a package that is slower, faster, or just about the same as your current connection. To find the best broadband deals in your area take a look at our broadband postcode checker.

4. Troubleshooting speed problems

Another major advantage of conducting a speed test is that it can help identify problems with broadband speeds. For example, if your speed results show high speeds when you connect your PC with an ethernet cable but are substantially slower over Wi-Fi, then the latter is most likely to have a problem. Or, if speeds are fast on your PC but your laptop seems to struggle, then the issue may lie with your laptop (you could be having numerous programs that are downloading in the background). Alternatively, if it is slower in the sitting room and faster in the kitchen, then there must be something interfering with the signal.

It is thus advisable to take speed tests in a variety of ways such as over Wi-Fi or on a wired connection and with your tablet or computer either right next to the router or in an adjacent room. Experimenting should help you zero in on anything that might be holding you back from enjoying fast speeds.

5. Identifying ideal download times

Unknown to many internet users, the day of the week or time of day can affect broadband connections, and a speed test can help you keep track of this. Due to factors such as the number of people in your neighbourhood sharing the same broadband line or traffic management, speeds tend to fluctuate as the week progresses. It is, therefore, not unusual to establish that your broadband connection is usually slower on weekday evenings as opposed to earlier in the day as the former is likely to be 'peak time’ when most people are online and when traffic management is likely to be in force.

Conducting speed tests at different times of the week and day can thus help you identify when your latency is at its lowest or connection at its fastest. Such information is pertinent especially when you need to stream a movie or download large files.