Check Internet Speeds
Most people feel relatively competent if they set up email addresses, surf the web for information they want, and establish social networking accounts. Anything else might seem a little bit more complicated. But if you want to check internet speeds for downloading and uploading files, it’s not as difficult as you think.
You can find tools online to help you check your internet connection, whether you have broadband, digital, or cable. Those three types are the most common for household use. Commercial connections add wireless, T lines and satellite to their choices.
Broadband was the oldest and slowest type of internet hookup, using the lowest end of phone wire frequencies to access the internet. Many people still use it today.
Then neighborhood cable companies put unused television channel wires to work for internet connections. These cables allowed a greater bandwidth-and higher connection speeds-than the dial-up service.
Phone companies fought back with digital subscriber lines, or DSL, which use a higher frequency on copper phone wires for similarly speedy connection times.
No matter which type of internet connection you use, you can check internet speeds easily, without calling in any techno-geeks for help. Once you choose a company, it will assess your IP location, a number assigned to your computer at your address. (Yes, there is a global internet entity that manages these IP addresses.)
The speed test looks at the distance between your computer and the circuits in your neighborhood installed by your cable or telephone company. It will evaluate your upload speed, which is how fast you transmit information to the internet. And it also checks download speed, or how long it takes you to transfer a file from the internet to your hard drive.
You will become familiar with terms such as kbps, transfer rate, and latency.
- You’ll hear about kbps, but using a testing service means you don’t have to understand it. (For the curious, kbps stands for kilobits per second, and it’s smaller than mbps, which is smaller than gbps. And bits are smaller than bytes!)
- Transfer rate means the same as throughput, or the speed at which data is actually transmitted. If you regularly transmit large files, such as videos or business network files, you need a higher transfer rate.
- Latency refers to delay, and it’s measured during a speed test with a ping to establish how long a packet of information takes to go out from your computer to an internet site and then return. Obviously you want a low latency, or delay, rate.
But to check internet speeds, you don’t need to become an expert. The company you choose will assemble data that lets you know if your internet service provider experiences frequent delays or slow-downs. You can save data from each speed test and compare it with tests done at various times of day or various days of the week to see if your provider is living up to his promised service.
Expect your download speed to be approximately four times faster than upload speed. This occurs because internet service providers utilize different frequencies for these functions so that uploading doesn’t block downloading and vice versa.
If you try to save changes recommended from the speed test and you experience difficulty, it might result from settings that disable cookies. Most companies that check internet speeds utilize cookies to identify recommended settings. If you have trouble saving those settings, adjust your setting for cookies by going to Tools on your toolbar, go to Internet Settings, and then Advanced Privacy options. You will need to override automatic cookie handling, accept first-party cookies, and prompt third-party cookies.
It might also be necessary to disable your security system while you perform a speed test. The reason for this is that the security system is suspicious of anything pinging back and forth that it cannot identify. Perform the test first, and if you’re instructed you can disable your security for the test, but don’t forget to switch it back on immediately afterward.