Tech Tips: Anatomy of a Speed Test

Written by | Internet, Tech

Whenever I connect a network, new ISP or just when my internet connection is stalling, I immediately access speedtest.net to check my current connection speed. I bet you’re like me as well, checking always testing the connection speed of your internet either on your computer, tablet or phone. Now I’ve been seeing a number of people I’m following on twitter posting the speed test result of their 4G connection.

More often than not we only check the download speed result disregarding everything else and not knowing what they really mean to our connectivity. Connection speed test will always gives you 3 results; Ping, Download and Upload.

Mobily_4G_Ethernet_SpeedTest

Ping
By definition a Ping is a test made to measure how long it takes for an information to travel through a network to reach the selected server and the time it needs to go back to the destination computer or originating computer.

A ping usually looks like this (see screenshot below) and a speed test tool usually display the final value, so in short the lower the ping result the better your connection, since the lower the number the lower the percentage of data loss.

ping_screenshot

Download
Like what I said above this is the single and most common test result we just check when doing a speed test and usually the value that’s mention by ISP when they market their service. Download speed or Bandwidth is the time it takes for a data to travel from the host server to our computer or device, usually expressed in bits per second or multiples of it (bit/s, kbit/s, Mbit/s, Gbit/s, etc.) but in today’s world it’s usually megabits per second or Mbps.

The higher the download speed the faster your connection is but the problem with download speed is that we will not get the connection speed that we sign up from our ISP, example, my 4G Connect plan is the 2 mbps connection package, and in the real world I just get 50% or less of that speed and if the right condition are met I can get up to 75% of the 2 Mbps connection speed.

Upload
If Download speed is the time it take for a data to travel from the server to our computer on a particular network, upload it somewhat the time it takes for our computer to push data to the host server on a network or speed of data from the local computer to the web server.

Obviously the higher the value of the upload speed the better for us, unfortunately upload speed that are usually allotted to us are no where near the download speed, since upload speed also takes up bandwidth, upload speed are usually half of the download speed that we have and most of the time lower. Of course if you want to get a faster upload speed then you may want to consider getting a business plan from your ISP, since business plan tend to have faster upload speed and a Committed Information Rate (CIR).

Hopefully after reading this, you will know what the result means on the speed test and how it affects our online life and of course know if our ISP are cheating on us by not giving us the speed that we paid for.

Last modified: December 30, 2012

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