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 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 078: A haunted ad,...
22:40 October 30, 2014
On today's show, we're gearing up to celebrate Halloween, so we showed up in costume and talked about haunted...
Play video
The Toshiba Excite Go is budget...
2:02 October 30, 2014
This $99 tablet offers decent performance, but struggles with a lackluster display.
Play video
2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS
5:24 October 30, 2014
The NISMO RS version of the Nissan Juke should prove to anyone that the Juke is a sports car. This special...
Play video
LG G3 Vigor: A premium budget...
1:19 October 30, 2014
LG's latest phone pairs luxury features with a low price.
Play video
Multimedia-savvy Lenovo B40 All-in-One...
1:12 October 30, 2014
Lenovo's 21.5-inch B40 all-in-one desktop offers an HD display at a budget price.
Play video
Tech21's Evo Mesh case protects...
0:59 October 30, 2014
Available only at the Apple store, the Evo Mesh iPhone 6 case by Tech21 is lined with super-sturdy FlexShock...
Play video
The Apple Watch will only last...
5:33 October 30, 2014
Apple Pay is in a battle for mobile payments with retailers, Tim Cook talks Apple Watch, and we get your feedback...
Play video
Homeboy tries to redefine DIY...
2:26 October 30, 2014
The Homeboy security camera's battery-powered design defies its power-adapter-dependent competition.
Play video