How fast is your Internet connection?
It’ll depend on a number of factors, like how many devices are on your network, what they’re doing, what time it is and what speed you’ve signed up for. (Need a refresher on what’s affecting your speed? Take a look at our bandwidth breakdown blog.)
So, let’s say that you’re supposed to have up to 100 Mbps download speed. Do you know how often you meet — or at times exceed — that?
How to Check Your Internet Connection Speed
That’s where Internet speed tests come in: at the click of a button, you can check your Internet connection speed, also known as your bandwidth.
There are many sites that provide this service, such as speedtest.net, and others hosted by Internet service providers, like ours.
They usually tell you the same things: your download speed, your upload speed and ping.
Your download speed is likely what you care about most. Measured in megabits per second (Mbps), it’s how fast you’re getting data from a server to your device.
Upload speed, then, is how fast your device is transferring data to a server. Many traditional Internet connections that use copper or cable wiring top out at about 10 Mbps, though fiber options like Kinetic Gig typically have symmetrical upload/download speeds.
Ping is the reaction time of your connection. Measured in milliseconds, this metric tells you how long it’s taken your device to respond to requests by other devices and proves important when timing is crucial, like video games. A faster ping speed is one that’s closest to zero, but “acceptable” speeds are those under 100. If you’re getting a ping speed above 150, you’ve probably noticed a lot of lag.
And, if you’re using our Internet speed test, you’ll find one more metric: jitter, which is the variation in that response time. The best connections will have lower jitter scores, as they prove more reliable.
Why Test Your Internet Connection Regularly
Just like getting an annual physical, checking your Internet speed regularly can alert you to connection diagnostics.
Let’s say you’ve been testing out your speeds weekly even, and you’ve noticed that your typical speeds range from 75 Mbps to 120 Mbps. One week, though, you see that number drop below 50 Mbps. From there, you can get into troubleshooting mode.
In particular, you’ll want to see whether this is happening on all of your devices, what times of day it’s occurring and how your equipment fits into the picture. But, first, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the most accurate results.
What’s Affecting Your Internet Speed Test Results
No test is 100 percent accurate, but these few factors can affect your outcome:
- Time of Day — Internet usage grows heavier during the evening hours (think: post-dinner). Try running tests throughout the day to get a clearer picture of your Internet connection.
- Wired or Wireless? A wired connection is always strongest, so for optimal results, connect your computer to your modem. Keeping a wired connection isn’t possible for all your devices, so for those that can’t, try keeping close to your modem/router. The farther away a signal has to travel, the slower it may be.
So, what else will help you get the most precise bandwidth reading? Use these tips from our Kinetic by Windstream team:
1. Restart your modem and router.
Everything needs a little reboot every now and then, including your Internet equipment. This is especially the case if your equipment is older and working in overdrive.
Need a refresher on how to restart these? First, you’ll unplug both, and wait about one minute. Then, plug just the modem back in, and wait another minute. After that time has elapsed, plug in your router, and wait a little longer for the processes to get rolling.
2. Limit other online activities.
If you’re performing other online activities — like watching a livestream or downloading the Fortnite update — while you check your Internet connection speed, your results may look a little lackluster. It’s best to close all apps on the device you’re using to check your speeds.
For a truer result, you’ll want little to no competing Internet usage. So, yes, that will also mean you’ll want to turn off whatever’s streaming in the other room. And, there are some devices, like some of that smart technology, that you may not want to disconnect, so you’ll have to take those into account when you see your results.
3. Restart your computer.
Just like your modem and router, your computer needs an occasional restart, too.
4. Choose an HTML Internet speed test.
There are two types of tests: Flash-based and HTML5. You’ll want the latter, as Flash is a resource-intensive plugin that can also skew your results.
As a note, many offered by Internet service providers are Flash-based, and others can be distinguished easily through a web search.
Once you’ve started collecting accurate results from these speed tests, you’ll be more on the pulse of your Internet connection.
Want to see what options you have with regard to a reliable connection? Learn more about Kinetic Internet today.