In our age where almost everything seems mobile, there is a constant demand for speed where everybody is in a hurry and there’s seems to be little patience for delays. That is why roads are built bigger and wider to accommodate more cars and make traffic move faster, drive-throughs are invented to buy your favourite fast food meal in just a couple of minutes, and technology always innovates to build faster forms of transportation so we can arrive to our destinations much faster.
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This need for speed is even seen in the demand for a faster broadband connection. Not only is there a question for speed, but also of reliability. It seems that people in general today don’t have the luxury and the patience to wait that long for their favourite movie or web page to download.
This also makes the competition among telecommunications companies stiffer. Each are trying to outdo each other to offer bigger data allowances and faster speed to retain loyal customers and attract prospective ones. This competition is an advantage to the public as it gives them more choices and better deals as to which broadband service they will have.
The problem, however, is that the advertised speed is different than the real speed you usually receive. In order to check how fast your connection is, companies and other independent organisations have set up their own broadband speed check websites to help you find out how much internet speed you’re really getting.
How Reliable are Internet Speed Tests?
Broadband speed check websites are helpful tools that help you determine the speed you are getting. However, you should keep in mind that although they are helpful, they are not at all 100% accurate. What you really get is just an estimation of how much speed you are receiving. That is why you receive different speed reports from different web sites every time you do a speed check.
Although speed tests do not accurately give you your exact speed, it is unfair to say that they are unreliable. The reason why speed tests are not 100% accurate is due to some factors.Location greatly affects the test server. It is a no brainer that when you use a speed tester from a location far away from where you are you might get a slow speed report compared to the speed tester which is located near you. The nearer the test server, the more accurate report you get. Therefore, choose a test server which is within your geographical location to have better and accurate results. Simultaneous programs running on your computer. If you will conduct a speed check, be sure to close other programs that are running on your computer. You might have noticed that if your computer has a lot of programs running simultaneously, it greatly affects its performance and speed. More programs running in the background will generate a slow speed report. Conducting your speed test during peak time. During peak time, it is expected that there are a lot of people logged on and a lot of traffic is expected during that time. When you conduct your speed test at this time, expect that you will have slower speed.
What is Being Tested in a Broadband Speed Test?
Although broadband speed tests are not 100% accurate, they can assist you in finding the best broadband deal for your needs. When testing, there are three factors that you need to consider – the upload and download speed, and ping.
Download speed – If your main purpose in getting an internet connection is just to check your email or leisurely surf some web sites, then the download speed is not really important. However, if you are someone who loves streaming and games, you need a fast broadband connection so that you can have the ultimate media experience. Your download speed is also important if you are sharing your connection with a number of computers as it will affect your speed when they are running simultaneously.
Upload speed – Where download means you receive data from the internet, upload is the opposite. It means that you send data through the internet. You do this when you put your pictures in Facebook or other social networking sites, or send them together with your files as email attachments. Although there is more stress on the importance of download speed rather than upload speed, it will be a critical factor if you have to upload or exchange files and media with other users. A typical broadband speed of 2.5Mb will suffice; while cable broadband has 10Mb upload speed. However, this will be dependent on your distance from the telephone exchange.
Ping – Ping measures your speed connection. It tells you how long the exchange of data from your computer to your server takes. It tells you the quality of your internet connection based on how long data lag.
Although you are concerned about broadband costs, getting the best broadband deal out there also includes broadband speed. By testing your broadband speed connection, you will know if you are getting a good deal or not.