Frequently asked questions
How do I initiate a speed test?
Clicking the “Begin Test” button on the front page map will initiate a speed
The application will then find the server nearest to your location and
conduct a series of tests on your connection: ping, download speed, and
normally measured in milliseconds, is a measure of how quickly
you receive a response from a server after you have sent out a request.
Ping is also referred to as “latency”. Ping response time is crucial to
applications that demand quick reaction time, especially online video
The download speed
is a measure of the amount of data you can receive
from a server in a given amount of time. Content is delivered to you more
quickly if you have a higher download speed. The majority of internet
connections will have a higher download speed than upload speed. This is
because most online activity relies on the delivery of data to the user (e.g.,
webpage content, streaming audio, streaming video), with limited need for
data to be sent back.
The upload speed
is the rate at which data is sent from your system to a
server or another person’s system. Upload speed is essential for any
activity that requires you to send data to someone else. This includes
sending large email attachments, video chat, peer-to-peer networking, and
uploading large images to online photo albums.
You will be presented with the data needed to determine if your connection
meets advertised standards from your service provider (ISP) after this
series of tests has been completed. If you find that you aren’t getting the
speeds promised, contact your ISP with this data and ask them to run
diagnostics too see why there is a discrepancy.
If your ISP cannot provide the speeds promised, and you are not getting
the value you expected, you may consider changing providers.
Once the test is complete, it is easy to use the same server to run another
set of tests.
Why is my connection slow?
The following actions will help you resolve the common problems that may
be slowing down your connection:
Get a clean test
Stop other programs that use your internet connection. Close other web
browser instances, peer-to-peer applications, and any applications which
may be downloading in the background, such as antivirus software
downloading automatic downloads or definition packages.
Simplify the test
Using a wireless connection adds another step
for the data to travel through and allows for the possibility of wireless
interference. If you are using Wi-Fi, connect directly to your router or
modem with an Ethernet connection.
Reboot your modem/router.
Reboot your modem and/or router. This is the standard help desk advice,
but it does solve a large number of connection problems.
After running those steps, you should now have enough info to contact your ISP if there's a mismatch between your plan and the speeds you're getting. See if they can run diagnostics on their end.
Finally, you can consider changing ISPs if you feel you're not getting what you pay for.
What speeds do I need for my favourite applications and websites?
While there is a wide range of variables involved in determining the speeds
needed for various applications and websites, the following speeds are an
estimated measure of the download rates you will need. If you are sharing
your connection with other computers or have multiple applications using
bandwidth, these speeds may not be adequate.
The listed download and upload speeds are in megabits per second
(Mbps). This is the standard unit of measure at SpeedAnalysis.net, as well
as for most service providers:
For voice calls: 0.1 mbps download / 0.1 mbps upload
For video calls: 0.5 mbps download / 0.5 mbps upload
For HD video calls: 1.5 mbps download / 1.5 mbps upload
Basic-quality video: 1.5 mbps download
High-quality video: 3.0 mbps download
Recommended: at least 0.5 mbps download
However, that is only for the lowest quality
video (360p resolution). Higher quality video, available in 480p and 720p
resolutions, will require more bandwidth for smooth streaming. Select the
highest resolution that your connection can handle that does not require
constant starting and stopping.
Recommended: at least 1.0 mbps
Like YouTube, Hulu offers various video quality options in order to allow
users to optimize their viewing experience. By clicking on the “gear” icon
under a video, you will find the option to have Hulu “Auto-select the best
quality for my bandwidth.” With this selected, Hulu will automatically
optimize the quality for your download speed.
Online Video Games
Recommended: a low ping (less than 100ms)
“Lag” is a reference to the time that passes between the player making an
action and the server responding to it. Lag reduces a player’s effectiveness
because the server receives and responds to other players’ responses
faster if they have a lower ping.
It is often advisable to connect your computer to your router or modem
using an Ethernet cable. Using Wi-Fi can result in a higher ping time. It is
also best ensure that background applications are not uploading or
downloading data while playing games, as this will also increase your ping
Why does the download test work, but the upload test fails?
The likely reason for a failed upload test is outgoing traffic being blocked by
antivirus or firewall software. Programs like McAfee, Norton, and AVG can
be configured to block outbound traffic in order to protect user data from
being sent to malicious sites. A properly configured firewall should allow
upload traffic through, and thus not interfere with the test. However, you
may need to disable your firewall or antivirus to determine if it is the cause Content Preview
of the issue. Don’t forget to enable the software upon completion of the
test, as it is protecting your system.
If the upload test still fails after disabling your firewall or antivirus, or if the
test is failing on multiple computers on your network, the issue may be your
router or modem. Temporary hardware issues may show up only when
trying to upload data. Restarting your router and/or your modem will usually
solve any hardware problem.
How does the speed test work, and how are the results calculated?
The speed test at SpeedAnalysis.net operates entirely over HTTP for
maximum compatibility. HTTP traffic is the same type of traffic your web
browser uses. Thus, all ports and protocols used are the same as those
used by your browser. If you can get to SpeedAnalysis.net through your
browser, then you should be able to run the test.
The primary components to our tests are a Flash based application, which
runs in your web browser, and the server. We refer to the Flash application
as the “client”, as it is what interacts with the server. The client handles all
data received and sent on your computer for use in our tests.
Once a server close to you is located, the client makes an HTTP request to
the server. The amount of time it takes for the server’s response to this
request to get back to your system determines your ping.
1. Your computer downloads small binary files from the web server to the client, and we measure that download to estimate the connection speed.
2. Based off this result, we choose how much data to download for the real test. Our goal is to pick the right amount of data that you can download in 10 seconds, ensuring we   get enough for an accurate result but not take too long.
3. We prevent caches from throwing off results by appending random strings to each download.
4. Once we start downloading, we use up to four HTTP threads to saturate your connection and get an accurate measurement.
5. Throughput samples are received at up to 30 times per second.
6. These samples are then aggregated into 20 slices (each being 5% of the samples).
7. The fastest 10% and slowest 30% of the slices are then discarded. We'll explain that more below.
8. The remaining slices are averaged together to determine the final result.
Since we are measuring data transported over HTTP (via Flash), there are the following factors that can affect speed: potential protocol overhead, buffering due to the many layers between our application and the raw data transfer, and throughput bursting due primarily to CPU usage. These factors lead us to drop the top 10% and bottom 10% of our slices as outliers.
Additionally, we keep the default test length short for user experience. Because the test is shorter, the ramp-up period can take a significant part of the beginning of the test, leading us to drop another 20% of the bottom result slices.
Upload Speed Test
1. A small amount of random data is generated in the client and sent to the web server to estimate the connection speed.
2. Based on this result, and appropriately sized chunck of randomly generated data is selected for upload.
3. The upload test is then performed in chunks of uniform size, pushed to the server-side script via POST.
4. We'll use up to four HTTP threads here as well to saturate the connection.
5. Chunks are sorted by speed, and the fastest half is averaged to eliminate anomalies and determine the result.
What do Mbps and KBps mean?
By default, SpeedAnalysis.net measures your connection speed in
Megabits per second, abbreviated as Mbps. This is the same unit of
measurement used as the industry standard by ISP's. We use Mbps on
SpeedAnalysis.net to allow easy comparison of the results you get using
our test to the speeds promised by your broadband plan. However, if other
units of measurement are needed, we offer four options on the settingsContent Preview
Kilobits Per Second (Kbps)
One kilobit is the equivalent of 1000 bits. Bits are the smallest unit of
measure in data, analogous to a small on/off switch. “Kilobits per second”
has typically been used in the past to describe data rates for mobile
connections, but mobile carriers are switching to megabits per second as
their connections get faster.
Kilobytes Per Second (KBps)
One byte is made up of eight bits. Therefore, one kilobyte is equal to eight
kilobits. File sizes on your computer are typically measured in bytes, so
download utilities usually use kilobytes as their unit of measure. Since both
“bytes” and “bits” begin with the letter “b”, references to “bytes” are
capitalized when used in acronyms (KBps) to distinguish them from bits
Megabits per Second (Mbps)
As previously discussed, this is the default unit of measure. One megabit is
equal to 1000 kilobits.
Megabytes Per Second (MBps)
One megabyte is equivalent to eight megabits. Most files are on personal
computers are measured in megabytes. If you have a fast connection, you
may see MBps in download utilities, rather than KBps.
If you are comparing the results of our speed test to speeds advertised by
your broadband plan, other tests, or any other measurement, please be
sure that you are using the same unit of measure. For instance, when using
our default measurement in Mbps, ensure the comparison is also in Mbps,
not MBps or KBps. Otherwise, the comparison is not valid, and the
numbers will seem disproportionate.
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