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Wise Tech Tips: Test Your Internet Connection Speed

By James Wise
web posted June 29, 2009
EDGEFIELD – Are you curious how fast your Internet connection is? Do you want to make sure you are getting the speed you’re paying for? Do you need to troubleshoot an Internet connection or speed issue? If so, there are a number of free websites you can use to see how fast you’re running on the “Information Super Highway.”

Here are a few of the sites I like for Internet speed tests (you could use several to confirm your results):

http://www.speed.io/index_en.html


http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest?flash=1
http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
http://speedtest.net/
http://www.bandwidthplace.com/

Important Note: When running a test, don’t do anything else on your computer (especially something like file downloads) as this will skew your results.

Almost all speed test sites do the same thing and present you with some key numbers regarding your connection such as:

Download Speed - Shows how fast your computer RECEIVES information. This is a critical number for downloading files on the Internet and for browsing in general since that involves downloading text, images, and videos on web pages.

Upload Speed – Shows how fast you can SEND information. This is an important number for email (when mailing large files), sending pictures to the Internet, etc… While download speed is more important for browsing, your upload speed can also affect this since your computer has to request what information it wants.

For download and upload speed, higher numbers are better. Cable or DSL service for example should have a download speed of 1,000 Kilobits per second or higher generally. Uploads speeds might vary more and are normally lower than download speeds.

Ping Time or Latency to Server – Shows how long it takes for you to send a request and receive an answer. This will affect browsing and is especially important for “real-time” items such as games, chats, and Internet telephone service. With ping time, lower is better.

Some sites also offer a comparison of your speed to the speed of other users (with the same provider, in your area). Another helpful feature is that some of these sites offer a history of your test results.

This can be especially useful if you want to check what your speed is at various times. For example, you could compare peak usage and non-peak usage times and you could check week after week to be sure your speed is consistent. Of course you could also do this by just writing down the results of your tests.

While I have lots of ideas for columns and run across new things every day, I always like hearing from readers. So if have a tech question you would like answered or a topic you would like me to cover, email me at edgefieldtechhelp@gmail.com.




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Parting Shots
A book by Columnist Carl Langley

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NOTICE:
We still need recipes for Cooking Section

WEBNEWS –  Send in your favorite or favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in. With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking, grilling, sauces, and deserts!  Send in your submissions here.