If your internet speed seems crappy, you probably go check Speedtest.net, yes? It's a quick way, and it's been a popular choice for years.
But Netflix has its own free tool -- Fast.com -- and with its latest upgrades, I might honestly make it my personal pick. Because as of Tuesday, Fast.com will give me numbers for upload speed, latency and "loaded" latency in its super clean, ad-free interface.
I bet you didn't even know Netflix had a speed test tool, and I don't blame you if so --, Fast.com has only showed you your download speed, which is just one of the metrics you need to understand your internet connection strength. Most competitors offered more.
But not even Speedtest.net offers the new "loaded latency" number, giving you an idea of how long it'll take for remote servers to communicate with your device when your friends and family are already using the network to stream movies, play games or back up photos at the same time.
I can't say whether the "loaded" test is accurate yet, but the upload and download speeds I saw on Netflix's prelaunch server seemed right in line with results from other speed test providers.
The main reason I'll be using Fast.com, though? These days, Speedtest.net looks like this:
I can do without all those ugly ads, thanks.
Why would Netflix offer a service like this without making money from it, though? (Disclosure: CNET runs ads too, and they kind of pay the bills.) Netflix tells CNET that the tool gives the company insight into networks around the world, but it's primarily meant to help internet users check speeds from their ISP when they're having issues with streaming video and other internet services.
Possible translation: It's a handy way to avoid getting blamed if the network, not Netflix, is responsible.