Thursday, March 06, 2008
How fast are you really surfing the web?
Your cable company might be promising you a 12 Mbps broadband connection, but is that really anywhere close to what you're actually getting?
If you're doubtful, you will want to run a broadband speed test on your Internet connection to see if you're getting your money's worth.
Whether you're using a DSL or cable connection, remember to test your connection several times to get a more accurate sense of your maximum bandwidth. Oftentimes, you'll get different readings depending on whether you're testing during the middle of the night when no one's using their connection and during the day when there tends to be higher usage.
Also, you will often have a choice between Flash and Java based speed tests. So which should you choose? Flash-based testing tools tend to perform better with connections rated below 20 Mbps. However, if you're lucky enough to have a faster connection, I recommend using a Java-based test to get more accurate results.
Broadband Speed Test Tools
If you live inside the US, Speakeasy's Speed Test offers 8 locations you can use to test your broadband connection speed from. To get a second opinion, you can also try out Broadband Reports' Speed Test.
If you live somewhere else in the world, Speedtest.net has a global collection of servers that you can test your connection with. Helpfully, you can also compare the speed of your connection with that of your neighbors as well as with competing ISPs.