Expert guide and tips
Is your internet feeling sluggish? A quick and easy speed test can help you assess your broadband.
Check your current internet speed in just a few minutes and find out how it compares with your service provider’s advertised speeds.
Internet speed tests
There are a range of different speed tests available, each with slightly different features and interfaces.
Ookla’s speed test, a pioneer on the web with a solid reputation for consistency, stands out as a favourite. Offering accuracy, a history log feature (with account creation), diverse servers, and a user-friendly app for Android or iOS, Ookla has it all. It stays ahead of the curve by introducing new features, including a video-specific speed test for 4K streaming and a VPN service. However, be aware of banner ads during basic tests, which may minimally impact results based on your connection strength.
Fast.com, owned by Netflix, is an excellent broadband test tailored for online streamers. With a straightforward interface, it assesses if your connection can handle streaming Netflix in maximum resolution without buffering. While it lacks some advanced settings and the ability to choose servers, its simplicity appeals to specific users.
M-Lab Internet Speed Test
The M-Lab Internet Speed Test, backed by Google, is the simplest option. Initiate the test with a single click to measure download speed, upload speed and latency within seconds. With no ads during the test and minimal data sharing (only your IP address), it offers straightforward functionality. Note that it lacks server selection options and only caters to internet speeds up to 700 Mbps.
For a test focusing on speed and consistency, Speedof.me is the preferred choice. Similar to Ookla, it reveals fluctuations in upload and download speeds over time, aiding in spotting connection issues. Its mobile-friendly website is convenient for on-the-go testing. However, it lacks server selection options, and its visualised data may be less intuitive for some users.
Testmy.net, operating on HTML5 and PHP, stands out as a browser-based speed test. Offering accurate results without third-party software like Java or Flash, it’s ideal for comparing browser performance. While not the most user-friendly tool, it provides in-depth data for those seeking detailed information.
Different types of speed tests
Download and upload speed tests check the speed at which data is received and sent. Download speed is crucial for activities like web surfing and video streaming, while upload speed is essential for tasks such as sending emails or uploading photos and videos online.
Ping or latency speed tests evaluate the time it takes for your device to receive a response after sending a signal to the server. Analogous to pressing a button on a video game controller, a ping test measures the delay between the command and the corresponding on-screen action. Higher latency indicates a slower reaction time.
Jitter speed tests examine how data flows among network devices. Data transmission occurs at a set interval, but congestion in the network can lead to laggy connections, which is known as jitter.
Streaming speed tests check the strength of your internet connection for streaming in maximum resolution without buffering. Since streaming videos demand more bandwidth, a sufficiently high download speed is crucial to support uninterrupted streaming.
Get more accurate results
For a more accurate and informative internet speed test, follow these tips:
Consider testing with both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections to better understand the actual speeds provided by your provider as well as compare speeds between wireless and wired connections.
Assess Wi-Fi speeds at various distances from your router, exploring different areas of your home to identify potential dead zones and gauge your router’s range.
Run speed tests on multiple devices such as your computer, phone, smart TV and gaming console. Address significant speed variations between devices by adjusting settings on either the device or router for consistent performance.
Conduct tests at different times of the day, as peak usage hours, typically weeknight evenings, may impact speeds. Running tests throughout the day provides insights into when your connection performs optimally, making these times ideal for scheduling resource-intensive downloads like video games or movies.
If you find that your true internet speed is significantly slower than your provider’s advertised speed, it may be time to switch providers. Or if it’s close to what you’ve been promised but you’re finding it too slow, it might be time to upgrade from ADSL to NBN (find out more about nbn v adsl here) or to a higher speed tier on the NBN.
Marshall Thurlow is Director and Founder of Orion Marketing Pty Ltd. He is a digital marketer with expertise in SEO, website design, content marketing and project management. With over 15 years of experience spanning government, not-for-profit and the private sector, he is well equipped to lead teams to success. He is a big proponent of environmental sustainability, critical thinking and progressive issues.