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Speed Test, Explained

How Does our Speed Test Work?
The Speakeasy Speed Test checks your connection’s download and upload speeds from within your browser. Bandwidth speed tests are used to check speed and quality of the connection coming from your broadband provider. Simply select the nearest city and we’ll take care of the rest!

What Needs to be Installed to Run Speed Test?
Adobe® Flash is required to run Speed Test.

Why Should I Test Internet Speed?
A broadband speed test is a helpful tool for individuals and businesses to track their connection. As Internet providers sell tiered broadband packages based on speed, it is essential to test regularly to ensure you are achieving the promised performance.

For organizations that use VoIP services, reliable broadband speed is a core necessity for the daily work of every employee. From conference calls to exporting large amounts of data, the quality of your broadband connection can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Understanding Your Speed Test Results
There are a few important terms to know during and after our bandwidth test:

  • Line Speed: during the test, the line speed shows the real-time download or upload speed we are seeing from your connection.
  • Percent Complete: this tracks the progress of the test from 0 to 100 percent.
  • Download Speed: the speed at which your internet connection delivers data to your computer. This is the maximum amount of info your computer can receive from the Internet in a given second. Download speed is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Upload Speed: the reverse of download speed, this tracks the maximum amount of information that your computer can send to the internet. This is also measured in Mbps.

If Your Speed is Lower Than Expected
There are many reasons why your test results may be slower than you expected. The following tips may help increase your results:

  1. Use a wired Ethernet connection instead of wireless to avoid any interference from things like household/office electronics, fluorescent lights, and even neighboring wireless networks
  2. Pause or close any programs or in-progress downloads that are using your connection
  3. Restart your router or modem and rerun the speed test

If after these tips you are still seeing slow speeds, contact your broadband provider for help diagnosing the issue. You can also check for faster bandwidth service available from MegaPath in less than a minute.

Viewing Your Speed Test Results History
Tracking your internet speed over a period of time is one way to ensure your broadband provider is performing as promised. If you are running the Speakeasy test on a desktop or tablet, your results are saved and can even be exported for your records. Directly below the speed test, click on “Results History” to expand your most recent results. If you are not seeing a saved history, please make sure to enable cookies in your browser’s settings.

 

Why is my speed lower than expected?
Several factors may slow your connection, resulting in lower-than-expected speeds. Try these simple suggestions below. But if your slower speeds persist, contact your broadband service provider to see if they can determine the issue.

  1. Be sure to stop any downloads or programs that may be using your connection while running the Speakeasy Speed Test.
  2. When using a wireless connection, there may be wireless interference. Try using a wired Ethernet connection instead.
  3. Try rebooting your modem or router and then running the test again.

What is “Throughput” and what factors affect my results?
There are many factors that impact your speed test results. Throughput problems in your local area network, IP or access overhead, and network design all play a role. Please read the definitions and examples below to learn more about these factors.

  • Download
    Download is a measure of how fast your connection delivers content to your computer or local area network.
  • Upload
    Upload is the measure of how fast content is delivered from your computer or local area network to others on the Internet.

    For businesses or power-users, download and upload speed should match or at least be very close. This is important for applications like VoIP, on-line gaming and other interactive programs. Upload speed is even more important if you are operating a server at your location. If achieving optimal upload speed is a concern, consider Ethernet, T1 or DSL services.
  • Kbps
    Kbps transfer rate = kilobit per second transfer rate. There are 8 bits in a byte, so we would divide kbps by 8 to get KB/sec transfer rate.
  • Mbps
    Mbps transfer rate = megabits per second transfer rate. 1000 kilobits equals one megabit. One megabit per second equals 1 million bits per second. Mbps is the industry-standard used by ISPs.
  • MBps
    MegaBytes per second. There are 8 megabits in one megabyte.
  • Latency
    In a network, latency, a synonym for delay, is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another. In some usages, latency is measured by sending a packet that is returned to the sender and the round-trip time is considered the latency. Low latency is extremely important for businesses and power-users.
  • Transfer Rate
    Transfer rate is speed at which data can be transmitted between devices. As files to download become increasingly larger, the highest data transfer rate is most desirable.
  • Throughput
    Throughput is the maximum amount of communication or messaging that can be transmitted through a communication channel during an elementary unit of time, usually, in a second.

    Depending on the type of channel, the addressing mechanism used in that channel, the type of messages are being transmitted and how secure the transmission needs to be—along with physical attributes like temperature, humidity and signal-to-noise ratios—actual measured throughput will vary.

An Example of Throughput
You have Ethernet 8.0 Mbps service and need to transmit an email which is exactly 1MB in size You may expect it will take exactly 1 second to transmit that message. But it will actually take longer as the total information that needs to be transmitted is more than 1MB. The total information is called Payload. The channel needs to not only transmit the payload but also some addressing details like where it is coming from and where it is destined to.

The device that sends this email will break down the message into smaller pieces and package them into what are called IP Packets. The size of these packets is usually determined by your Local Area Network. Some have smaller size, so the message will take more IP Packets to transmit; while others may have larger size which needs fewer IP Packets. Each IP Packet also contains an IP Header. This is where the information like the source IP Address, the destination IP Address and additional information about the payload is included. IP Header is usually 20 Bytes (160 Bits) long.

Assuming that this customer uses 100 Byte payload, each IP Packet will now be 120 Bytes long. And that 1MB message will have to be broken down into 10,000 payload pieces. That means to transmit the whole message the channel really needs to transmit about 1,200,000 Bytes or 1.2 MB or 9,600,000 bits. It will take at least 1.2 seconds to transmit all these bytes on this 8 Mbps service assuming that all these IP packets with the payload arrive without any errors and not needing re-transmission. This is called IP Overhead.

Actual Throughput will always be less than line rate of the access service that is communicated by your provider—and this is all based on IP Overhead only. Ethernet services also have a Layer 2 or Ethernet Overhead. Other services may have ATM, Frame Relay or other kinds of Overhead depending on the design. All of this may contribute to a slower bandwidth throughput than what you are expecting.

Other frequent factors influencing throughput:

  • The number of devices sharing the access circuit and the activity the other devices are generating while speed test is being run on one of the devices
  • A rogue LAN port that is clogging the LAN with transmission
  • A leaky LAN port which degrades LAN performance
  • LAN signaling issues which create a lot of packet re-transmission for the devices on the LAN
  • LAN Router with performance issues, low processing power or Deep Packet Inspection and advanced security features like URL blocking enabled
  • Wireless Access Points on the LAN side
  • Distance (both geographical as well as number of hops) between the speed testing client and the server

Why do I need to install a recent version of Adobe® Flash?
Flash is used in Speed Test to display the map and test your connection. The Speed Test requires the newest version of Adobe’s Flash plug-in to be installed on the browser you are using for the test. We use JavaScript to detect Flash versions. The upgrade message is displayed if the version of Adobe Flash in your browser will not support the needs of the Test.

I have a recent version of Flash, why isn’t it working?
Windows OS will sometimes state that an up-to-date version of Flash is already installed when you try to update for a browser that’s not flagged as your “default browser”. Make sure you’re installing updates on the browser you're using, and not your default browser. You can do this in your browser’s settings, under Plug-ins or Add-ons.

Where can I get more Flash help?

How do I re-enable Flash in my Firefox browser?
Mozilla has stated they are blocking Adobe Flash as a default until Flash is able to satisfactorily update securities from publically known vulnerabilities. The most up-to-date version of Flash is protected from some of these vulnerabilities.

To reactivate Flash in Firefox, do the following:

  • In a new FireFox browser tab go to “about:addons” and select Plugins
  • Find Shockwave Flash [version]
  • Select either Always Activate or Ask to Activate
  • Continue to enjoy Speakeasy Speed Test

Why do I see a license expiration notice?
This notice is in place to protect our speed test from being stolen and run, mirrored, or framed into another website.

To remove this notice:

Make sure you are going to https://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/. We have software in place to block the speed test from being used in any other domain.

Also, you may have an older version of the test cached in your browser. Clearing your cache and Speakeasy cookies should make the license expiration notice disappear.

How do ad blocks and firewalls impact the test?
Our speed test sends packets of empty data back and forth to your computer in order to test your line speed. Since we are a third-party sending a receiving a tiny data packet from your computer to perform the test, some ad block or security services interpret this as an attack and act accordingly. Temporarily lowering the severity should allow the speed test to work. Be sure to turn it back on before leaving our website.

How do I save my test results?
Your most recent speed test results are saved in Results History when tested on desktop or tablet. If you do not see a saved history, please make sure that cookies are enabled in your browser settings.