By performing a broadband speed test with your computer, you’ll find out if your Internet connection is actually providing the speed that you’re paying for. However, most of these tests will only tell you that. They don’t tell you what you can do to correct your connection problems.
For instance, what can you do if, while watching a movie on Netflix, the movie keeps buffering? Additionally, the speed test will only tell you what your upload and download speed is, it won’t tell you where any latency is originating.
So, first let’s take a quick look at some sites where you can perform an accurate broadband speed test. Then we’ll take a quick look at some tools that come with Windows that will tell you approximately where the problem is.
Digital Landing Broadband Speed Test
Diagnose Problems and Find Solutions
Until recently, I didn’t know about the Digital Landing broadband speed test tool. It doesn’t have the slick and fancy look that some of the other, less informative tests have. It doesn’t need the slick look or the fancy interface. It’s just a straightforward and easy to use tool that delivers an accurate representation of both your upload and download speeds.
All the tests I’ve looked at over the past 20 years tell you how fast your download speed is. Not very many of them give an accurate representation of your upload speed, though. But, why do you really need to know what your upload speed is? You send people pictures don’t you? Maybe Word or PDF documents? Sending is uploading. Your download speed isn’t the only one you need to verify every now and then.
One of the things I liked the most about the Digital Landing speed test is that it compared my results to others in my area right there on the same page. Unlike most of the other tests, this means I don’t have to dig around to see how my speed compares to my neighbors. I thought this was really cool.
And the cherry on top? Actually, on the bottom. After the test completes and I’m able to review all of my results, I can scroll down the page some and be presented with a list of articles that can help me choose a faster service or make my connection faster. This is something none of the other tests give me. Either on the same page or after having to dig around some.
BroadbandReports.com Helps, Too
This is the second of my two favorite broadband speed test sites. You have your choice of several types of speed tests to choose from (Java, Flash, Mobile, Simple Mobile). You can also choose the server to use to perform the test. This means you can choose the server that’s closest to you or farthest from you.
Being able to choose between Flash and Java tests lets you determine if maybe there are problems with your Java or Flash plugins. If you’re using a mobile device, choosing one of the mobile tests will perform a speed test that’s tailored to mobile devices instead of laptops and desktops. This gives a more reliable result. Some of the information that the site presents is a little too technical for someone new to computers and testing bandwidth, though.
Windows Tools To Check Latency
Windows ships with two very helpful tools that can help you diagnose certain problems, especially those involving latency. Latency is the condition where a piece of data gets held up somewhere. Latency can cause loss of data if it occurs too often or for too long. The two tools that can help you diagnose this are “ping” and “tracert.” To access these tools, go to “Start” and “Run,” then type “cmd” and hit enter.
Ping sends a small packet of data to the server you choose. Usage is “ping www.website.name” without the quotes. If you look at the image above, you can see that I “pinged” the Digital Landing webpage. You can see that the minimum response time was 313 milliseconds, while the maximum was 404. The average response time was 345 milliseconds. All things considered, I’m not terribly disappointed with this.
The second test is called a “trace route (tracert is the command).” Usage is “tracert www.website.name” without the quotes. What this does is send a piece of data from your computer to the server you select. Again, I chose the Digital Landing server. From this test, you can see that the router I’m behind has some issues that I’ll have to look into at a later date. I can tell this from the words “Request timed out.” This means that no response was received. You can see that my data packet went through a total of 10 routers or switches between me and its destination.
Knowing what your promised and your actual upload and download speeds is only half of what you need to know to be able to start fixing connection problems. Hopefully, I’ve been able to give you a boost towards understanding the rest of what you need to know.