Being able to connect to the Internet is an essential part of modern life, but it’s becoming increasingly important to be able to connect at speed, so you can get to the information you want as quickly as possible.
A speed test is a way of tracking that speed. While every speed test is different and is influenced by many different factors, which means you’ll probably never get the same results two times in a row, it’s the best indicator of what kind of speeds you get on your connection.
Like all speed tests, the finder broadband speed test calculates the time it takes to transfer small amounts of data both to and from your computer from the speed-test server.
By monitoring the time it takes to transfer files, you can get an indication of what speed, measured in Mbps (megabits per second), your connection is getting.
The finder Broadband Speed Test will calculate a number of different factors related to your broadband speed. While all of them are important, depending on your particular needs some may be more important than others.
Ping measures the time it takes for a signal to be sent from one computer to another computer and then back. It’s not so much about the transmission of data as it is about how long it takes for the two computers to actually get connected. Ping is generally measured in milliseconds, and the lower the ping result, the better the connection. A low ping is essential for online gaming, where you need your button presses and mouse clicks to be registered on the server as quickly as they happen so you aren’t at a disadvantage against your competitors.
In order to get an accurate Ping result, the speed test will run it multiple times. Jitter records how much variation there is between those results. The lower the number, the more stable your connection is, but if you are seeing larger numbers for the Jitter result, it indicates some big variations in how quickly your computer can connect to the speed-test server. That might not be too bad if you’re testing from a mobile device, but if it’s consistently high on your computer, the results may indicate bigger issues with your connection.
This measurement records the speed at which your broadband connection can download files to your computer in Mbps. For many people, this is the most important factor of the speed test as it offers an indication of how quickly your connection will download large files. Having a high download speed can impact the quality of your Netflix stream (especially if you want to watch in 4K resolution) or how quickly you can download the latest game to your PlayStation 4 console. When it comes to download speed, higher (faster) is better.
Upload speed uses the same methodology as download speed, except it tracks how quickly your connection to the Internet can send files. Internet connections are asynchronous, which means that download speeds are given preference over upload speeds, making them faster. Upload speeds are especially important for sharing video files, so budding YouTube stars and videographers should consider plans promising high upload speeds. As with download speeds, the higher the number in Mbps, the better the speed.
There are many factors that can influence the actual speeds a broadband connection can achieve, ranging from the type of connection it uses to the number of people that are trying to connect at the same time. In some cases, the ISP you choose for your Internet connection can also affect the speeds you get.
For ADSL connections, the distance your address is from the telephone exchange and the quality of the copper wire will have the biggest effect on your speed performance, though congestion can also play a big part in how fast your speed test results will be.
During busier periods, many broadband providers will prioritise certain types of traffic, while slowing down others (software updating, video streaming etc.).
If you’re completely underwhelmed by the results of your speed test, try these broadband speed tips to see if things improve.