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

More tech ideas for Halloween
0:58 October 23, 2014
Halloween is right around the corner. Whether you're looking for a sweet or scary way to celebrate, CNET's...
Play video
Tomorrow Daily 074: VR moon tours,...
25:03 October 23, 2014
On today's show, we discuss virtual reality tours of the moon using Oculus Rift, all the crazy things we spotted...
Play video
iPhone 6 You Up - The Music Vi...
2:55 October 23, 2014
We celebrate the launch of the iPhone 6 with "iPhone 6 You Up". All night.
Play video
Facebook Rooms joins the anonymous-chat...
2:54 October 23, 2014
A new app from Facebook puts a twist on anonymous messaging, Apple stores still see long lines for iPhones,...
Play video
Microsoft's Chromecast competitor...
1:39 October 23, 2014
This little dongle sends your screen from your Windows machine (and some Android devices) right to your T...
Play video
Take a look at the Windows 10 Start...
1:21 October 23, 2014
Windows 10 has revamped the Start menu; let's check it out.
Play video
Marantz SR5009 receiver: Stunningly...
1:44 October 23, 2014
The Marantz SR5009 looks and feels more upscale than the competition's receivers, and it follows through with...
Play video
Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet vs....
2:14 October 23, 2014
Sharon Profis compares the security, ease of use and availability of some of the most popular mobile payment...
Play video