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What is My Internet Speed?
You probably spend a large part of your paycheck on your internet service, so if you’re not happy with your internet performance or you're not getting the bandwidth you were promised by your provider, testing your internet speed might be just what you need. A speed test gauges bandwidth upload and download speeds, as well as ping. To get the best results, use your tablet, smartphone, desktop or mobile devices for the test.
How Does an Internet Speed Test Work?
An internet speed test measures the speed and quality of your connection to the internet by running several tests consecutively that analyze download and upload speeds and ping (latency rate).
Download speed: How fast your device receives data from the internet, like when you stream a movie on Netflix.
Upload speed: The amount of data your device can send to the internet, such as when you post a video on YouTube.
Ping: The delay of a signal because of the time it takes a signal to travel to its destination.
What Do My Results Mean?
A speed test measures the speed of your internet. It appears as a bundle of numbers. Besides testing your download, upload and ping, the test also shows your packet loss, firewall and jitter rate.
Packet loss: If your results show a high packet loss, you’ve probably noticed lags when streaming or playing games online.
Firewall: This shows if your local network of LAN has firewall protection.
Jitter rate: The jitter rate shows the speed between packets to and from your network.
What is a Good Internet Speed?
Speeds generally range from as low as 1 Mbps up to 1000 Mbps (1 Gig). Speeds in the 100-200 Mbps range are considered fast and can usually handle many common tasks like streaming up to five users at once. Speeds above 200 Mbps are believed to be faster than average.
What Internet Speed Do I Need?
That depends on how you use the internet.
|Internet Speed||Good For||Users Supported|
|0 to 5 Mbps||Basic internet use, sending emails, surfing the web||1 to 2|
|5 to 40 Mbps||Basic video, streaming music||Up to 4|
|40 to 100 Mbps||Multi-party video conferencing, online gaming or telecommuting||4 to 5|
|100 to 500 Mbps||Streaming video in UHD on multiple screens, downloading large files, multi-player gaming||More than 5|
|500 to 1000 Mbps||Doing most anything||More than 5|
In the city, the average internet speed is around 100 Mbps, unless your neighborhood has fiber internet access. In the country, 25 Mbps is standard, especially if there’s no cable or DSL service. Some rural areas depend on satellites for internet service, with speeds averaging 25 Mbps, which is the maximum speed for satellite internet.
How Do I Improve My Internet Speed?
Whether you’re working from home, gaming with multiple players, streaming video or just surfing the web, you don’t want lag times or a slow connection. Without paying an arm or leg for your internet, there are ways to improve your internet speed without breaking the bank.
- Upgrade or reset your router. Sometimes a little tweaking to your router’s firmware is all you need to improve your internet speed. Of course, if your router is ancient, you may want to invest in a new one.
- Check if your provider has data caps. If you reach or go over your provider’s data caps for your internet, your speed will slow significantly. Try to negotiate with your provider to see if it will increase your caps or eliminate them altogether.
- Move your router. If your computer is far from where you’ve placed your router, you will see slower internet speeds, if you can log on at all.
- Try an ad blocker. Ads, GIFs, pictures and videos, all slow down the internet. Try installing ad blocker software and see if that helps increase your speed.
- Limit the windows you have open on your browser. When you have multiple windows or tabs open on your browser, you may find your internet slows. Try closing a few tabs or only keeping a few windows open at one time.
- Check for viruses or malware. Viruses and malware slow down internet speeds. You may not even know your computer is infected. Download a good virus scanner to see if that’s an issue.
- Clear your history and cache. Cache in the form of “cookies” can really reduce internet speeds. When you close your computer, clear your history and cache.
- Change internet providers. Sometimes the best way to speed up your internet is to change internet providers. Doing so may even save you a few dollars. Using your ZIP code, we can share with you the available ISPs in your area.
Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Speeds
Lagging reveals itself in many ways. Programs or windows may open slower than usual, graphics may stutter and frame rates drop. Download and upload speeds decrease, you see error messages, printers or other peripherals stop functioning properly, or there are delays while gaming. The issue may be slow internet speeds or something in your computer, like your graphics card or drivers. Take a speed test to see if that’s the issue before replacing components.
Most videos still stream in standard definition, so you’ll need at least 5 Mbps to stream movies and video. But you’ll need at least 25 Mbps to stream in 4K. Netflix recommends 3 Mbps and fuboTV recommends minimum speeds of 40 Mbps. In general: to stream videos in HD, you should have at least 5 Mbps. If you want to stream in HDR or 4K, think in terms of 25+ Mbps.
That probably depends on what you want to do and what type of internet is available in your area. Fiber internet is the fastest, but availability is limited. It is also often the most expensive. Cable is widely available and fast. DSL internet passes through telephone lines, which makes it the best option for rural customers. However, speeds tend to be slower than cable or fiber. Satellite internet offers spotty service and slow speeds, and is also usually found in remote locations.
To Sum It Up
If your internet is slow, you’ve noticed a sudden slowdown or an increase in lag, or your needs now call for faster speeds, you may want to take our speed test to find out why. You may also want to look at changing providers, as this is usually the best way to increase your internet speed. Make sure, however, that your new provider offers high speeds and doesn’t have data caps. After all, you spend a lot of time on the internet, why not get the best speeds possible for your dollar?