This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
How To Video: Test your ISP's speed
About Video Comments (0 ) Transcript

How To Video: Test your ISP's speed

2:10 /

Find out if you're getting all the bandwidth you're paying for.

All Internet service providers try to tout the speed you get if you give them your money. It's easy enough to compare speeds with dollars and find the best value. But do you really get the speeds they advertise? Here's how to test to see how fast your ISP really is, and research the speeds of their competitors. Speed tests abound on the Internet. Some are more complicated than others and their accuracy can be questionable. I like the speed test at dslreports.com. You don't even have to know what kind of service you have. Just pick a city you want to test against. Picking a nearby city is fair for testing the claims ISPs make. It errs on the side of the fastest conditions under your ISPs control. Picking one far away subjects the speed to more distance and more interference from other carriers, but can really prove the muscle of your ISP. Before you start the test, shut down every application you have running and close any tabs. That goes for every computer on your home network. If you have anything else using your bandwidth, then the test application will register a lower amount than you actually received. Once you're ready, click on your chosen city. The app will use dummy data to measure the latency, upload, and download data transfer rates. You'll see a mark on a graph for your results, compared with the results of others who used the test. This can be filtered by ZIP code and ISP. If you filter by ISP, you can see what speeds others have reported, and use that as a check against their claimed speeds. Now remember, you'll never get exactly the rate advertised, because bandwidth is usually shared. In cable systems, it's shared with your neighbors, so the speed may fluctuate wildly depending on how many people are using it when you test. Even with Fios and DSL connections, overall network traffic can impart your speeds. So, it's best to do a few tests at different times, and even from a few different services. DSL reports offers a directory to worldwide speed tests, including some offered by CNET. Hope that helps you get a handle on how to measure the speed your paying for. I'm Tom Merritt, CNET.com.

New releases

Tomorrow Daily 043: Time traveling...
24:00 August 27, 2014
On today's show, we discuss using virtual reality as an illusion of time travel, check out Royal Carribbean's...
Play video
Easily run Windows and Mac OS...
2:49 August 27, 2014
Parallels Desktop 10 makes switching between operating systems a snap
Play video
Not quite high caliber blendin...
2:41 August 27, 2014
Beneath the overblown health hype, the NutriBullet works well enough, but doesn't stand out from less expensive...
Play video
Melitta's cheap drip makes bitter...
2:07 August 27, 2014
Think twice about choosing the Melitta 10-Cup Coffeemaker to save cash.
Play video
Too-hot tech: Overheating Surface...
2:55 August 27, 2014
Hewlett-Packard recalls more than 6 million defective power cords, Microsoft promises a fix for overheating...
Play video
The gigantic Lexus GX 460
5:59 August 27, 2014
Lexus' second largest SUV may be a better fit for big luxury drivers.
Play video
The Bowers and Wilkins CM1 speakers...
1:50 August 27, 2014
The Bowers and Wilkins CM1 S2 speakers look great and sound terrific but aren't the best choice for punk...
Play video
Plantronics BackBeat Pro: A full-size...
2:33 August 27, 2014
The $250/£250 BackBeat Pro is Plantronic's version of the Beats Studio Wireless, with noise canceling inc...
Play video
 

Video discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre