With the advent of better technology, Internet speed has become an important factor among computer users. U.S. census data from 2007 reported that 88.7 million (or 78 percent) of all U.S. households had computers. Today, the experts predict that over 90 million (or 90 percent) of all households in the U.S. own computers. It seems that Bill Gate’s dream of a computer in every home is becoming more of a reality every day. As computer usage becomes more popular, more people should be interested in performing a download speed test on their home and office computers to see if they are getting the speeds they need for their computers.
Routine tasks, such as paying bills, buying household items, and talking with friends via email and social networks are all done over the Internet. As an avid computer user, it behooves you to perform a download speed test to at least get some idea of how fast (or how slow) your computer operates. But before we talk about a test for measuring speed, it helps to understand the concept of Internet speed itself, and how it works.
Understanding a Download Speed Test
Internet speed can be broken down into three different categories.
Download speed: The speed it takes you to retrieve information (for example, files, pictures, and programs) from the Internet.
Upload speed: The speed that it takes you to send information to a remote location on the Internet. That information can be data in any form, such as email messages, photographs, and more.
Latency: The lag period that occurs when processing network data. Low latency refers to small delay times, while high latency means long delays or waiting periods. People often complain that dial-up connections have high latency periods, or the amount of time it takes to either download or upload files on their computer.
Both download and upload speeds are measured in the number of bits (or bytes) per second transferred. For example, 25 Mbps (megabits) per second translates to 25 million bits per second—which is pretty fast. Latency, on the other hand, is measured in milliseconds (or thousandths of a second). In other words, 25 milliseconds is 25 thousandths of a second.
Major cable companies like Comcast and Earthlink advertise Internet speed in terms of download speed, followed by the upload speed. For example, these companies advertise 25 Mbps down/1.5 Mbps up. As you can see from the example, the download speed is much quicker than the upload speed.
Think of Internet upload/download speeds in terms of payload, where a large, tractor trailer truck represents the download speed, and a smaller truck represents the upload speed. Assuming that both trucks travel the same distance (for the same amount of time),
The larger truck can move 15 tons of weight, and the smaller truck can moves 1.5 tons.
While you’re at the computer, you may have noticed that it takes much less time to download files from the Internet than to upload them.
Check Your Internet Speed Using a Download Speed Test
In simple terms, an Internet speed tests measures the bandwidth of your connection by using sample data files and test Web servers.
In order to find out whether you’re getting the actual download speed you’re paying for, you can download a tool from the Internet that measures your Internet connection by calculating the amount of time it takes to download a given set of files.
By using the Digital Landing Internet Speed Test, I was able to determine my upload/download speeds within a few minutes. Here are my results:
- Download Speed = 2.7 Mbps
- Upload Speed = 0.69 Mbps
Try out the test yourself, and see what you come up with!
In essence, the tools help you measure the results of any performance enhancements (tweaks) you may make to your network setup.
You can choose from among many Internet servers and websites distributed worldwide to run a download /upload speed test.
When it comes to Measuring Internet Speed, what ultimately matters to most people is how well the network responds when they are trying to accomplish certain tasks on the computer.
To answer the question of just how fast your computer network needs to be depends on the usage model. As more devices and people are added to a single network, the network’s overall speed in terms of bandwidth and latency must be designed to support the total load.