You may want to test Internet speed from time to time as a subscriber to High Speed Internet services. There are two types of Internet speed tests. The first will let you check to see if you’re receiving the Internet speed that you’re paying for, while the other will tell you, at a glance, how much of what we call “bandwidth” you’re actually using.
What Are the Differences in Internet Speed Tests?
As stated above, one way to test Internet speed, when the test is accurate, will tell you what the maximum amount of data your Internet connection can handle. This is called a bandwidth test. Bandwidth is the measurement of the maximum amount of data that can be transferred over your connection. This is similar to the specifications for your car: Your car is capable of going “this fast” and can, when running at optimal condition, go “this far” on a gallon of gas.
The other kind of test tells you how much of that bandwidth your connection is currently using. This Internet speed test method tells you, using the analogy above, how fast you’re going right now (like your car’s speedometer) or exactly what sort of fuel efficiency you’re receiving, right now (similar to the trip computer in some cars).
Both of these tests can tell you if your Internet connection is working properly.
“But,” you say, “why do I really need to know these things? My Internet works.”
The first type of test will tell you if your kids (or you) can play “Call of Duty” or “World of Warcraft” without experiencing jerky game play. It will also tell you if that subscription to Netflix (You’ll need about 500 Kilobytes of bandwidth for this) makes sense, or if you’re going to have to cue the movie up and let it load for 20-30 minutes before being able to watch it.
Among other things (like whether someone is snooping around inside your computer from afar), the second test just tells you how much is being used. If you’re not currently using your Internet connection (maybe you’re playing Solitaire or watching a DVD), but you’re throughput meter is showing data throughput on your Internet connection, this tells you that something that most likely shouldn’t be happening is happening and you need to take steps to correct the problem, quickly.
Test Internet Speed with Digital Landing’s Own Bandwidth Test
I’ve been in the tech/computer/Internet game for about 25 years now, basically since the industry’s adolescence. I’ve seen (and used) literally hundreds of different test that purport to tell you, the user, how much bandwidth your Internet connection is capable of supplying. As you can imagine, some are better than others, while a few shine like diamonds in the rough and others, well, to put it nicely, don’t.
One of those online Internet speed tests that I’ve found to be easy to use and interpret is right here at Digital Landing. Most importantly, I’ve also found this one to be highly accurate. Simply load the page, push the “Begin Test” button, sit back and let the test run for about 20 seconds without otherwise using your Internet connection. The test will run and let you know how much data the test was able to move between the site and your computer.
Monitor Your Computer’s Constant Throughput
Throughput, simply put, is the measurement of the amount of data that your network connection has been able to successfully pass. As I mentioned above, this can be very helpful to see if someone outside your network is using your Internet connection, for whatever reason. The way this is tested is by using a piece of software we call a network monitor.
If you’re not using your Internet connection at all, say simply playing Solitaire, but your network monitor software sees significant data moving through your network adapter, alarm bells should start ringing in your head, loudly. Normally, even if you’re just playing Solitaire or doing work in Word, Excel, etc., there is going to be some data moving through your network adapter. This is normal. However, if you see it moving around quite a bit, chances are someone’s snuck a little piece of nastiness onto your computer.
My favorite network monitor package is called BitMeterII. Small, unobtrusive, accurate, and highly configurable, this program allows me to see, at a glance, exactly how much bandwidth my network connection is using. For instance, I can go to a download site and grab a movie. My Firefox will tell me how fast that movie is being downloaded. BitMeter allows me to see how much of my Internet bandwidth is being used, so I can tell if something else is going on. It also lets me go back to the day I installed the program and check my historical usage, such as checking what days I tend to use more bandwidth.
When you test Internet speed, you need to check more than just the maximum speed at which your Internet is capable of functioning, but you should also check to see how much is actually being used.