We all know why broadband checkers and speed tests are important- it’s how we get the best deals. But what information does it use to make these decisions and what do they actually show us? For example- it may be based on latency, response times, download and upload speeds. Why are these important?
Everyday speed tests use TCP (transmission control protocol), this is to make the connection to the website, the testing server, and run the speed test too.
Latency is the response time from the testing server, i.e. how quickly the server could respond to the PC/device’s request to connect.
Download tests tell you how much bandwidth you have on the downstream. An example would be watching movies on Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, NOW TV, YouTube etc, or listening to Spotify, downloading games on console or PC… The higher the download speed, the more of this you can do at once.
Upload tests will tell you how much bandwidth you have on the upload. An example of this would be uploading files to OneDrive, Google Drive etc, uploading photos to Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, sending picture or video messages to friends and family, sending emails…
Some tasks use both the download and upload bandwidth, i.e. internet calls (voice and video), online gaming, P2P sharing, remote desktop, VPN.
So speed tests are a great way to see what you have to play with, and similarly to help diagnose issues with WiFi or with the broadband service. Note though, that when using speed tests to diagnose problems, it’s best to make sure you’re the only device connected, or that all other devices are passing ZERO traffic. When diagnosing broadband service issues, the speed test is best done via a PC with a direct ethernet connection to the router, and more importantly that the PC’s network card is rated for the correct speed i.e. Ethernet (10Mb), Fast Ethernet (100Mb) and Gigabit (1000Mb/1Gb).
I hope this helps.
Very interested in this discussion and willing to try/test any suggestions. The best speedtester I have found so far is ookla, the app is better than the browser version. There are many servers available, but some are too busy to do good tests, and some aren’t fast enough to test properly, so you have to try a few to find the good ones. I do realise I am only testing the speed of my device, but it is a fascinating thing to do to see the differences.