How Do I Check My Download Speed?

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How Do I Check My Download Speed?

Sometimes, the Internet speed you pay for and the Internet speed you feel like you’re actually getting are two different stories. Or maybe you feel that you need more or less bandwidth due to your activity online. You might want to find out what your speed is so you can make the right decision about your Internet plan and service provider.

If you want to find your current Internet download speed, you can use something called an Internet speed test. An Internet speed test will measure your network’s bandwidth and will sometimes even report on latency. Let’s definite a couple things first, so you can better contextualize your results.

What are bandwidth and latency?

  • Bandwidth – Think of your Internet connection as a tube. The Internet data you use is sand. The larger the tube , the faster the sand can flow through. A higher bandwidth allows more data to be transmitted at any given time, so a download will finish faster. Your results will tell you how much bandwidth your connection is able to handle, and how much it’s actually handling.
  • Latency – If bandwidth is the size of the tube, latency would be the length of the tube. Latency often depends on how far away your computer is from your server. It’s the amount it takes for each object (a block of text, an image) on a web page to load. According to Web Performance Today, web pages can often contain 300-400 objects. For users with even a full second of latency, load times can be lengthy. So if your results say you have high latency, that’s not a good thing. Lower is better.
  • Check your Internet speed with these popular services:

    Geek Squad Speed Test

    With Geek Squad’s broadband speed test, you can check several different factors that affect your overall Internet speed. With the performance test from Geek Squad, you can check download/upload speed, your latency and many other variables, as well. Visit GeekSquad.com to begin the test.

    Broadband.gov Consumer Broadband Test

    This test is a service provided by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. You’ll be able to find it on the Broadband.gov website. With this test, you can measure four parameters of Internet connection, including download/upload speed, latency and jitter (which is how much latency varies).

    CNET Bandwidth Meter

    This is one of the oldest speed test services available on the Internet. With this test, you can measure your current download speed. To use the test, specify your Internet type and the service will download an image to calculate bandwidth.