What is an internet speed test?

An internet speed test is an evaluation of your existing broadband parameters. A speed test works by sending a file from a speed test server and analyzing the time it takes to download the file onto your local device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and then upload it back to the server.

Why should I test my internet speed?

Running regular internet speed tests can help you better understand your connectivity performance trends and your connection’s maximum download and upload speeds. You may be paying for an internet connection with WiFi speeds higher than you require, which is costing you money each month. Alternatively, you may be paying for WiFi speeds that are lower than you expected. Our internet speed test can reveal whether your provider is actually meeting their advertised speeds. If you run our test multiple times and still don’t see the speeds you’re paying for, contact your ISP for more help.

How does your internet speed test work?

The Bandwidth Place Internet Speed Test is a browser-based, HTML5 speed test that checks your connection speed without requiring any downloads. When you begin the test, our tool will upload a set of files from your computer to the fastest test server with the lowest ping. If you would like to use a different server, we also provide the option to manually select the server location. The speed test will then run in reverse, downloading your files instead. During the entire process, our speed test will measure various metrics, such as your upload speed, download speed, and ping.

How to read your speed test results

  • What is Download Speed?

    Download speed is the maximum amount of data your computer can receive from the internet in a single second.

  • What is Upload Speed?

    Upload speed is the maximum amount of data your computer can send to the internet in a single second.

  • What is Ping (Latency)?

    Although their definitions slightly vary, ping and latency are often used interchangeably. However, when used in the context of speed test results, both ping and latency are a measurement of how quickly you can get a response after you’ve sent a request over a network. Latency and slow ping rates are often affected by packet size, packet loss, and jitter. See below if you are unfamiliar with any of those terms.

What is a good internet connection speed?

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), good internet speed starts at a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps to perform everyday online tasks. Depending on your personal internet habits, your download speeds will need to meet the following minimum criteria:

  • 1-5 Mbps for email and web browsing

  • 15-25 Mbps for streaming HD video

  • 40-100 Mbps for streaming 4K video and light online gaming

  • 200+ Mbps for streaming 4K video, online gaming, and downloading large files

How do I test my WiFi speed?

You can use our WiFi Speed Test to check your WiFi speed. First, while standing near your router, run our speed test on a mobile device or computer connected to your WiFi network. Then connect a wired desktop or laptop directly to one of the wireless gateways’ Ethernet ports. Finally, rerun our speed test with the new wired connection, and compare your results to the original WiFi speed test.

Glossary: Internet Speed Terms

If you are not familiar with some of the terms that have been used throughout this page, use the glossary below to gain a more comprehensive look into your network connection.

  • Packet Loss

    Packet loss occurs when lost packets of data don’t reach their destination after being sent across a network. This can often result in increased latency and slower network connection.

  • Jitter

    Jitter occurs when there is a variation in the time between when a signal is transmitted and when it is received over a network. This is often a result of network congestion.

  • Mbps (megabits per second)

    Mbps stands for “megabits per second”. Mbps is a unit of measurement used to show the speed of a network or internet connection. Megabits (Mb) are made up of 1 million bits. Bits are the smallest unit of measurement for digital data. They are represented by zeros and ones in binary code. However, because bits are so small, it is more common to use megabits (Mb). Megabits per second refers to how many megabits can be downloaded or uploaded over a network. Internet service providers (ISPs) typically use Mbps when communicating the maximum download and upload speeds of their different internet plans.

How to improve your internet speeds

Restart your router or modem

This is often the easiest place to start. Sometimes it’s as simple as a quick reset. Unplug your modem or wireless gateway, wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on. If your wireless connection is still poor after restarting your modem, try repeating the process with your router. Finally, you might want to try turning off the WiFi on all of your connected devices. Wait a few seconds and then turn your WiFi back on. Wait for your devices to reconnect and see if your connection speeds have improved.

Check your hardware

Maybe your modem and/or router are obsolete? This sometimes hampers your speed. Check with your internet service provider to ensure your equipment is up to date. In most cases, they upgrade your setup for free, although a monthly charge may apply. You can also consider purchasing your own modem and router to keep your monthly cost to a minimum. Your ISP maintains a list of third-party equipment compatible with their service. Talk with them to find out what direction is best for you.

Move your router to a different location

Routers are affected by location. Consider placing your wireless router close to your prime television viewing area to improve the overall streaming experience. Additionally, try to keep any walls between your router and your streaming devices to a minimum. This helps you get the most out of your bandwidth even without spending extra on a high-end router. Certain appliances, most notably microwaves, interfere with your router’s signal. So make sure you place the router where a microwave won’t hamper your WiFi.

Consider a range extender

Depending on the layout of your home and the location of your wireless router, you may encounter difficulty keeping a strong internet signal. Range extenders offer a relatively inexpensive way to spread your wireless signal throughout your home. Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $150 for a decent model. They typically plug directly into a wall socket, so you are able to place the unit closer to where you do your most internet activity.

Change your internet service provider

If all else fails and you’ve tried the tips above, there is always the option to switch your internet provider. Internet providers typically offer multiple different types of technologies used for internet access. Some are faster than others. Here is an overview of the most widely used internet types:

  • Cable Internet:

    Cable service is the most popular and successful form of high-speed internet in the U.S. The vast majority of American cities and communities offer cable TV service, and as a result, these areas typically also provide broadband service. Harness some of the fastest download speeds on the market with speeds measuring up to 100 Mbps, nearly five times faster than DSL.

  • Fiber Optic Internet:

    Fiber optic internet is a type of network connection that transfers data via fiber optic cables. Through the use of these cables, data travels longer distances and holds the signals intact throughout. Data gets transmitted using light, which accelerates internet speeds beyond what you’d expect from cable or DSL providers. Fiber optic internet is the perfect solution for heavy internet users including gamers, video streamers, and those operating out of a home office.

  • Fixed Wireless Internet:

    Users in need of on-the-go high-speed internet are best served by a mobile internet service. This type of internet service is typically provided through a cellular telephone service provider’s data plan. Serving as your gateway to WiFi freedom, mobile internet service allows you to work and play virtually anywhere in the world. No matter where you are, you can count on impressive speeds and reliable connectivity.

  • Satellite Internet:

    Satellite internet provides connection using three satellite dishes: one at the internet service provider’s hub, one suspended in space, and one fixed to your property. This effectively eliminates the need for in-ground cables while increasing internet accessibility in rural areas. In fact, satellite internet is often the sole option for wireless connection in most remote areas.

  • DSL Internet:

    DSL internet is generally available through ISPs wherever telephone landlines are run. DSL is lauded for its reliability, affordability, and top speed performance. Users can expect download speeds of up to 20 Mbps, which makes everything from gaming to video streaming a total breeze.

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