How to Verify Your Actual Bandwidth

A good number of novice Internet users among us use online tools to measure our Internet connection quality, but most of us encounter a some common pitfalls. This article outlines how to test your Internet connection quality thoroughly and properly.

SpeedTest.net

SpeedTest.net is a free testing tool which enables you to test your connection against thousands of servers worldwide:

  1. Signup for an account at SpeedTest.net, and then log into your account before running any test.This will help you to keep record of your test results which may be very useful for future/historical comparisons and/or for serving as evidences of poor service by your ISP.SpeedTest-Account
  2. SpeedTest-BangladeshAfter getting your own account, let’s move on to test your local speed (inside BD) and to assess the performance of the connecting media plus your ISPs connectivity with BDIX (to other national ISPs). To test local servers, drag the map with your mouse/pointer to Bangladesh (Dhaka or your nearest visible city in the map). Then, hover on the indicator circle for more options to choose specific test server.In most cases, results of these local tests reflect the limit of your connection media (i.e. WiMAX, 3G/GSM, Ethernet Cable or even your home/office WiFi). If you are a broadband subscriber connecting through direct fiber or fast ethernet cable, and if you are getting lower than practical limits of your connecting media (i.e. 80 Mbps for fast ethernet), then that is a limit of your ISP or the target/test server. When you have a good idea of your local/national speed, move on to test with international servers- the real Internet.
  3. SpeedTest-SydneyReload the SpeedTest.net page or click on New Server to start testing your Internet connection speed against some major cities worldwide. For example, you may test your Internet connection speed with the servers in following cities. Use the lower rectangle to navigate around world/continents; Use the upper rectanglular window to zoom-in/out and to locate cities:
    1. India (South Asia)
    2. Singapore (East Asia)
    3. London, UK (Europe)
    4. Paris, France (Europe)
    5. Miami, USA (North America: East Zone)
    6. California, USA (North America: West Zone)
    7. Dallas, USA (North America; Central Zone)
    8. Sydney, Australia (Southeast Zone)

Alternative Speed/Throughput Testing Tools

  1. http://testmy.net/ (also see http://testmy.net/multithread; select all locations)
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/diagnostics/ (good to test streaming capabilities)
  3. http://performance.toast.net (select “F-16 Jets” or “Blue Angels”)
  4. http://www.ozspeedtest.com/bandwidth-test/

Good to note:Internet” in laymen’s terms means, interconnected networks all around the world. It is your ISP’s responsibility to maintain connectivities to the worldwide networks of servers directly or indirectly via one or more upstream service providers. Therefore, if you get lower than your ISP’s promised speed with majority of international servers, then you can be sure that something is wrong with their peering/upstream service. In other terms, you are being served with low quality bandwidth where only local or a limited number of destinations (i.e. India, YouTube, Facebook, Google) have good connectivity with your ISP. For rest of the world, they are lacking the required level of capacity or connectivity. This implies, your are being cheated in the name of “Internet connectivity”.

Quoting TestMy.Net:

The true worth of an ISP – In our opinion the true value of an Internet service provider isn’t always measured in megabits. Truly great providers maintain good peering relationships with other providers so their users sustain quality speeds throughout the Internet, not just near by. What good is an Internet connection if you can only get your advertised speeds on your providers internal network (or on the edge of their network). It’s the INTERnet not INTRAnet. If you run a speed test elsewhere and get higher results than you get here, poor provider peering may be to blame.

(to be continued…)

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