Tech Tips

How does speed test work?

Speed test estimates your internet speed provided by performing tiny downloads and uploads on your line. 

Speed test results may differ because the test measures the speed between your device and a test server. There are several factors that can impact your reading. 

  1. Location – Because the test involves sending information between your computer and the testing server, the location will affect the results. A server which is in the same town will have a faster reading. Most speed test servers will automatically select the closest server.
  2. Other online activities – If you have different devices connected to the network then this will affect the results because other programs will compete for bandwidth which will result in slow speeds.
  3. Peak-time congestion – Traffic jam during rush hours is not only an issue on the roads but also on the networks. Speed test results generally show a slower reading during peak hours, because there are more people connected to the network.
  4. Network Equipment –  The quality of your router and computer/phone will affect the result. If you are using an older computer then the results will be slower than a newer computer. A WiFi connection will also have slower readings compared to a cable connection. 
  5. The nature of the test. The test is performed using sample files which are different from what we use our connections for. Example: streaming a Netflix episode will place a higher burden on a router than these sample files.
  6. Speedtest Servers – The load on the selected server can affect the results. You can expect a better reading when the load on the server is low. 

Here are some quick ways to get a better reading

  1. Reboot your router and/or ONT device. It solves a number of problems. This is because your router is like a small computer and can develop memory leaks or fall into an unrecoverable state.
  2. Use an Ethernet connection. Use a wired Ethernet connection to eliminate the possibility of wireless interference.
  3. Get a clean test. Stop any ongoing downloads, and shut down any programs which use the internet, almost all the programs connect to the internet to send or retrieve information. You also need to switch off the WIFI to prevent any other device from contending for bandwidth during the test.

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