Paul Williams
Paul Williams

If you’re like most people, you depend on the strength of your internet connection to keep your digital world afloat. When things start to slow down and laggy load times befall you, running a bandwidth speed test is a crucial step in figuring out what’s going wrong. Not only can these simple one-click steps tell you how quickly you’re able to download and upload files, but they can also verify whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth from your internet service provider (ISP).

As the third-largest cable entertainment and broadband provider in America, Cox Communications has earned its leading position by extending their services far beyond fast internet speeds. Among the many services Cox offers is a Cox speed test that allows you to evaluate the speed of your many devices’ connection to the internet.

Because it’s virtually impossible for any internet service provider to claim to provide impeccable reliability and coverage availability, spotty or slow internet is bound to happen. If you’ve been dealing with frustratingly slow internet or simply want some detailed insight into how your internet is working for you, conducting a Cox speed test is your one-stop-shop solution.

Using this guide, we’ll walk you through how to run a Cox speed test, help you understand your results, and answer any questions you may have about your Cox internet speed and web connection.

What is an internet speed test?

An internet speed test is an evaluation of broadband parameters. Speed tests work by sending a small file from the ISP server and analyzing the time it takes to download the file onto your local device and then upload it back to the server.

Internet speed tests report on a number of important features, including:

  • Download speed
  • Upload speed
  • Bandwidth
  • Ping
  • Jitter

Not all internet speed tests report on all of the aforementioned features, but download and upload speed and ping are standard measurements across all tests.

How to run a Cox internet speed test

Step 1: Prep your environment

Before you begin your Cox speed test, make the following adjustments to ensure your test is as precise as possible:

  • Disable any software that could slow down the test (anti-virus, multiple browser tabs, etc.)
  • Disconnect any hardware that could cause latency issues (firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, etc.)
Step 2: Access the Cox Speed Test

Here, you will simply be asked to “Start Test.” You will have the option of changing servers, but if you choose not to, the system will select the closest available server for you. The test should take no longer than 30 seconds for a full assessment. You’ll be able to watch the internet speedometer work its magic right before your eyes.

Step 3: Survey your results

Once complete, your final results will reveal your download, upload, ping, and jitter rates. To get a better understanding of what each of these measurements mean, refer to our glossary of speed test terms.

With both your upload and download speeds evaluated, cross-examine the speeds you’ve surveyed with the numbers touted within your ISP’s service plan. If there are significant discrepancies, it may be time to troubleshoot.

What is considered fast internet speed?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines fast internet as a web connection offering download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. These speeds can easily support common online activities ranging from High-Definition video streaming and online gaming to web-browsing and music downloading.

What is considered slow internet speed?

According to FCC evaluations, download speeds of less than 25 Mbps are too slow to be considered broadband, thereby objectively classifying them as slow internet speeds. Download speeds below 25 Mbps typically mean users will experience difficulty connecting multiple web-enabled devices, frequent video buffering, and a myriad of other laggy connectivity issues.

What factors can alter my Cox speed test results?

In order to yield the most accurate speed test results, it’s absolutely crucial that your environment is ideal for the test. There are a number of both external and internal factors that can alter your speed test results. These factors divide into either software or hardware discrepancies. Let’s break it down:

Software

Certain types of software programs can cause connectivity slowdowns—namely firewalls, anti-virus programs, and administrative tools, to name a few. These types of programs monitor each and every piece of input and output data transmitted to your device. And, in some cases, these applications also supply extra data to help with encryption. This can greatly alter your Cox speed test results if you don’t make a point to disable them before testing.

Your browser of choice—be it Chrome, Safari, Edge, or Firefox—may be the reason behind your poor speed test results. Each browser offers different levels of performance capacity, which ultimately plays a huge role in your device’s internet speed. If you were to conduct one Cox speed test through Chrome and another through Safari, you may see different results. We recommend running the test through your preferred browser to get an accurate glimpse of the everyday speeds and rates you can expect.

Hardware

All types of web-enabled devices can produce incredibly different speed test results even if they’re using the same exact ISP. In most cases, the results you’d yield on a tablet or other mobile device would likely be different from the results you’d see from a desktop computer speed test. This is largely due to stark differences in available bandwidth, internal hardware, and connection type.

Your internet speed is largely dependent upon the availability and quality of certain network equipment. This usually includes the router or ethernet cable—the two essential hardwares responsible for connecting you to the web. Do note that if you use a wireless WiFi router connection, the odds are highly likely that your speed test results will be much slower than that of the speed you’d receive from a direct, wired ethernet connection.

Understanding my Cox internet speed test results

What is download speed?

Download speed measures the time it takes for data to be transmitted from the internet to your device. Traditionally, the majority of bandwidth connections are designed to deliver faster download speeds than upload speeds. This is because most common online activities, like streaming videos and loading webpages, are dependent upon fast download speeds.

What is upload speed?

Upload speed is the rate at which data is transferred from your device to the internet. Upload speed measures how many megabits of data per second you are able to send from one device to a server or separate device via the internet. Everyday online activities, such as sending emails, video-chatting, and tournament-style games, require speedy upload rates. Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

What is ping?

Ping is the reaction time of your connection, recording how fast you’re able to get a response after you’ve sent out a request. The faster your ping, the more responsive and functional your connection. This especially true of applications and programs where timing is everything. Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms).

What is latency?

While often used interchangeably with ping, latency is the measure of time between a request and a result. In essence, latency tells you how much time it takes for a signal to travel to your ISP’s server and back. Lower latency means shorter lag time— the lower the number, the better. Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms).

What is jitter?

Jitter, also referred to as packet delay variation, measures the fluctuation of latency over time. Think of it as a disruption in the normal sequence of data transmission. Jitter often results in packet loss and network congestion, effectively slowing your internet down. Jitter is measured in milliseconds (ms). Acceptable jitter rates should be below 30 ms.

What is Mbps?

Mbps is the abbreviation for “megabits per second.” This unit of measurement evaluates the bandwidth capacity of an internet connection, determining how much data can be transferred each second.

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted via internet connection within a specified amount of time. Though often mistaken for internet speed, bandwidth refers to the volume of data that can be sent rather than the rate in which it is sent. Bandwidth is traditionally measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

Why is my Cox internet speed so slow?

If you’ve been struggling with a frustratingly slow Cox internet connection, there are several possible reasons that could explain why. Take a look at these common issues that may be holding you back from blazing fast web speeds.

You’re on a low-tier internet plan

Like most internet service providers, Cox Communications offers several different service plans that work on a tier system—the more robust the plan, the more expensive.

If you’re unsure of what internet speeds your Cox plan promises, log into your online Cox account and access your monthly plan details. From there, you’ll be able to locate the details about which speeds you’re paying for versus the speeds you actually get as proven by your Cox speed test.

In the event that your Cox speed test results do not match up with what your plan offers, reach out to Cox Support to speak with a representative who can explain or mend your connectivity issue. Should you find that you’ve outgrown your current internet plan and require a mightier connection, contact an ISP representative.

Your WiFi signal is bad

It is next to impossible to get anything done quickly or efficiently when you’re dealing with a weak, spotty WiFi signal. Grating internet traffic slowdowns, absurdly long download times, and frequent WiFi disconnection are all tell-tale signs of a failing router.

Though WiFi routers are robust pieces of technology, they can break down with age just like any other digital device. While many basic issues can be solved with a simple router reboot, more complex problems may require a complete router replacement to restore your connection’s high speed.

Network latency is too high

The speed of your internet performance is largely dependent on two essential elements: bandwidth and latency. As mentioned before, when latency is too high, performance suffers. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that are out of your control when it comes to monitoring and managing network latency rates. Some geographic areas are more prone to the effects of congestion and throttling than others, and if you live among those areas, your web speed may suffer, too.

Your device may have a virus

If the device your testing on has any sort of malware or virus, your web connection will likely suffer. These malicious software programs can infect your computer and make your internet speeds crawl. Spyware, in particular, can monopolize your internet connection and ruin your PC performance altogether.

If you suspect a virus is terrorizing your broadband connection, consider running your system through an antivirus check.  Doing so will help you determine whether or not a digital infection is the culprit behind your laggy web speeds.

How can I speed up my Cox internet connection?

Before grabbing your phone and dialing up Cox Support, check to see if there are any DIY ways to speed up your Cox internet connection without any professional assistance. Believe it or not, there are a number of easy, cost-free ways to make your internet connection work better for you.

Whether that means terminating bandwidth-hogging programs or upgrading your internet plan, there are several viable avenues for speeding up your Cox internet.

 Method #1: Reposition your router

Is your router in a random, isolated corner of your house? While you may like it out of sight and out of mind, you’re likely compromising your web connection while you’re at it. Oftentimes, your WiFi signal is only as good as you position it, so be sure to position your router in a central place.

Keep in mind that because WiFi signals travel perpendicularly, placing the router somewhere elevated, like a shelf, coffee table, or fireplace mantle, will yield far more impressive connectivity results than a router placed on the floor.

Method #2: Switch to ethernet

Across the nation, the vast majority of people rely on WiFi.  With such high volume of people using WiFi, bandwidth can become easily overwhelmed and cause slowdown—especially if there are several devices or routers near each other.

To get around the bottleneck problem, switch to using an ethernet cable. Establishing a direct, wired connection from your router to your PC almost guarantees that your connection is superior to that of a wireless web connection.

 Method #3: Upgrade your internet plan

Even if you live in a rural locale home to just one ISP in your town, odds are in your favor that any ISP offers a number of different plans. If you’ve taken every possible measure to ensure your speed test is as accurate as possible, it may be time to upgrade your plan for a more robust connection with faster speeds.

Call your provider and ask about alternative plans. Do be sure to do your research before calling so you can go into the conversation with a solid idea of what you need and what price you’re expecting.


Paul Williams
Paul Williams

Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.