How to do a proper Internet speed test

Once you perform a proper Internet speed test, you will have information that helps you make the most of your connection. Here's how...

We're going to show you how to perform a proper Internet speed test

Internet speeds can seem slow for a variety of reasons. Rogue programs using your bandwidth, poor Wi-Fi reception and other problems can make your Internet connection feel frustratingly slow.

Running a proper test will help you get started on diagnosing the problem.

Step one: plug your computer directly into the modem

When testing anything, it's important to eliminate as many variables as possible. Your router is a variable, even if you're using a wired connection. If you're connected wirelessly, it's a guaranteed bottleneck. To get a true speed test, plug your laptop or desktop computer directly into the fiber connection (the optical network termination or ONT) before you run any speed tests and bypass the router, and that variable, entirely.

Ensure your computer has a gigabit-capable Ethernet port. Gigabit Ethernet ports don't really look all that different from any other Ethernet port, so you may need to do a little digging if you're not sure. Check

On a Windows computer, open the Control Panel, click Network and Internet and choosing Network and Sharing Center. The screen should show you your active networks. Next to Connections, you should see a link called Ethernet. When you click Ethernet, a status window opens with information about your connection, including its speed. Look for "gigabit," "1 Gbps," "1000 Megabit" or "1000 Mbps."

Any Mac made in the last 10 years will have gigabit Ethernet. If in doubt, get confirmation by entering your computer's serial number in this Apple Knowledge Base article.

Step two: Test. Test. Test again.

Now that we're sure no one device is standing in the way of us and our peak connection speed, it's time to run some speed tests. Remember what we said about eliminating variables? The speed test you use is a variable, so we're going to use several to ensure they're not reporting incorrect numbers.

Internet speed test

Some reliable Internet speed test sites include:

[list type="unordered"] [item type="spaced"] DSLReports Speed Test[/item] [item type="spaced"] Fast[/item] [item type="spaced"] SpeedOf.Me[/item] [item type="spaced"] TestMy.Net[/item] [/list]

Each site's results may vary slightly because of several factors, such as demand on and your proximity to the testing server. Test your Internet speed several times on each site. Note your peak speed on each site and take a note of any discrepancies, too.

More often than not, connection speed issues don't actually track back to the fiber connection. Wi-Fi today can't really handle gigabit. Issues like wireless interference in the home can affect perceived speed too.

There's a science to eliminating trouble spots in your home network and a great place to start is changing your Wi-Fi channel.

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