How to Test Your DSL and Cable Internet Connection 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
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 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 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 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. This is a website address where they offer you a free internet connection test:
In summary, don't settle for numbers given to you by your services, do the tests whenever you can. You enjoy it, and feel that you are getting your money worth. This is because some servcies charges you 35 dollars or more for a high speed internet service.
I have created an Ebook about troubleshooting procedures for DSL, or Cable connection problems. You can get it for free by
right clicking the link and saving to your computer: