Broadband Speed – How to Check How Fast It Is

24 January 2017

Broadband providers are increasing their promises to customers, domestic and commercial, that they have the fastest broadband and the best service.

Unfortunately, we sign up to these deals only to find that in practice, these promises of superfast broadband may not be at the lighting fast speeds all the time.

Ofcom publish average broadband speeds recorded across the UK, usually twice a year. As of November 2015, for example, Ofcom noted the national average speed of broadband was 28.9 megabits per second. The faster your broadband, the faster documents and data will download, upload and stream.

For a business, fast broadband means less hanging around waiting for the IT system to catch up and an efficient business overall.

Using an online broadband speed calculator

Testing your broadband speed is simple. We suggest using one of the many online measuring tools. Simply type it in to a search engine and many options will be presented. We suggest running the diagnostic test a couple of times.

Computers connected to the internet via cable are also more likely to display faster speeds than those PCs using a wireless connection to routers and repeaters.

To get an accurate reading, you will also need to ensure;

  • There is nothing else using the internet connection – this includes other apps on your PCs such as email client or an instant messenger app running in the background. Some sites and apps are constantly updating, slowing your download speeds. Virus checkers are one such program.
  • Any intensive program is shut down – if your virus program is performing a check, or you are converting a video etc., these invasive programs will slow your computer, impacting on the accuracy of the broadband speed reading.
  • The network is not ‘overloaded’ – in a business, computers are often networked (they can be at home too) and with many things using the network, such as TV, games console, many PCs etc., the accuracy of the measurement can be distorted too.
  • The speed check is run at different times of the day – just as there are peak times on the roads, there are peak times with the internet too. Run your test early in the morning, later at night as well as during the day.

Why bother?

It may be that your broadband provider promises or guarantees a certain broadband speed and if you are not receiving that service, you could potentially ask for a refund.

If you notice that your internet connection is sluggish, this test can reveal if the connection or the speed is the problem, or whether your network needs help in processing the increasing amounts of data and information.

You could also find out if there are other providers of faster broadband in your area – at a better price!

Broadband is important for every business. Is yours up to speed?

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