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You can easily determine the speed of your internet connection bandwidth by using websites that offer free bandwidth tests. But do these sites really measure the ‘real-time’ performance of your web connection? Read on to understand how bandwidth tests really work, and bust the misconceptions you have about them.

Understanding internet bandwidth tests
A bandwidth test is actually a program that measures your internet speed by sending one or more files of predetermined size over a network to your computer. It then measures the time it takes for your computer to download the sent file. The result – which is the measure of your internet speed – is a figure expressed in either kilobits per second (kbps) or megabits per second (mbps).

Remember that figures resulting from bandwidth tests are only ‘theoretical’ – they may fluctuate greatly because of several factors, the most common of which is change in internet traffic. As more log on to the internet using the same internet service provider as yours, for example, speed decreases. The size of the file sent by the bandwidth tester also has an effect on the result – try another bandwidth tester that sends smaller files and you might get a higher speed figure. Also, if many people were using the bandwidth test server at the time of your test, your results may be compromised.

How do you get accurate internet bandwidth test results?
The only way to get a more accurate bandwidth speed result is to repeat the test over and over, using different sites, if you can. Some experts say that you should conduct the test at least six times in four or more different sites. List down all the results of each bandwidth test from the highest to the lowest. Disregard the top and bottom third of the list and concentrate on the middle figures. Average these figures, and you get a pretty accurate figure representing your normal internet speed.

There are two measured elements that determine your internet connection speed. They are: The download rate, and the upload rate of data measured in bits per seconds. Usually, it is expressed in Kilobits per second.

A bit is the smallest piece of data that can be stored in a computer. The bit can be either "0" or "1". The byte is eight bits. Example of a byte and bits are the following:
bit= 0 or 1
byte=8 bits
1 byte=10011101 (eight bits)
A single charcter needs one byte or eight bits to be stored in a computer. So, when the data rate is 1 byte/sec, that means one character per second is the rate at which data is transferred through your internet connection.

This is very slow, and only intended for an example. In order to browse the internet, you must have at least a dial up internet access with a 56kb/s modem, in order to get a meaningful and practical result.

There are different types of internet connection. First they introduced the dialup connection using your phone line, then the broadband was introduced.
The broadband internet connections are DSL, Cable, or Satellite internet services. They are widely used and expanding due to the high bandwith.

When you get an internet service, your provider states that your speed will be a certain numbers. They usually give you a good idea, but not an exact one. The common asked questions among internet users is:
How do I know what is my internet connection speed, and if I am getting what I was promised?.
If there anyway I can test my connection, and do I need to buy expensive software to test it?.
The answer is simple. There are two ways to test your internet connection speed:
1- The manual simple calculation test that you can do yourself without any software or third party services.
2- You can find a service that lets you run a test through their servers, and get your numbers displayed at their webpage.

1-The manual method:
Since I mentioned that the connection speed consist of two numbers, the download and upload speed. So, what you do is download from the internet any free software, and watch the result box with the result that show the size of the file and how many seconds it tool to download.
When you are done recording the download speed, upload a file of a specific size (1 Mb, 2 Mb), and time your watch when you start. When the file is uploaded, check your watch and record the time it took for the task. Then divide your file size by the seconds it took.
If you file was 2 Mb. that took 5 minutes to upload, then your upload speed is 2 Mb./300 sec. or 6.826 Kbits/sec.You can run the above test couple times, and then take the average for a better result.

2-The automated test at a third party service:
This is my preferred one, where you get to a website where the test is done for you. It is done using a script installed on their server, and letting you download and upload to their server a test file (invisible to you). Then, the result is displayed on their webpage. You just have to register for free using your email. It is free.

In summary, don’t settle for numbers given to you by your internet services, do the tests whenever you can. You enjoy it, and feel that you are getting your money worth. This is because some internet services charges you 35 dollars or more for a high speed internet service.

 Article Autor:George Chamoun To learn more , check out the visualware.com site.

Internet Speed Tests

With the numerous things that can and do effect your internet connection speed how do you tell what connection speed you are actually operating at? In any network you are only as fast as your weakest link. The biggest issue is identifying where the problem resides. These weak links are typically called bottle necks. Even if you have a broadband connection your connectivity speed can be limited by bad or faulty connections, a router that is limitided by it’s own internal connection limitations, or even the type of cables which supply your connection.

Having wondered myself as to what connection speed I am actually getting I decided to test the performance of my Internet connection. By testing my connection speed with different configurations I started to narrow the issues down. Of course I replaced some cables, because as we all know not all RJ45 cables are rated the same. Some cables will out perform others according to the design and rating. When testing your connection remember to start at the first connection which is your NIC card. From there moved to the physical connections such as cables, then switches or routers.

Of course we have no control over the networks we may connect through. You can however improve your internal network connections and devices which in turn can improve your speed. One application which can evaluate your connection speed by evaluating your true download and upload speeds is the Internet speed test. This test is offered free of charge. Once you have tested your connection you can review the test data against the connection speed data provided by your ISP. If your connection is is in question you can test it comparitively to your ISP’s documented or proposed speed. from there you can take steps to troubleshoot and hopefully improve your speed just a little.

About the author: Patrick Wilson has been writing technology articles since 2004. For an extremely accurate internet speed test try the speed test at PC911.

 
 

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