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Speedtest.net – good looking speed test results August 15, 2006

Posted by Al in : Internet,networking,utility,website , trackback

Some site’s stand out for their simple and clean design, and this new speed test site, called simply enough speedtest.net is an excellent example. Every bit of the design is spot on and the ability to keep and display your results is excellent too.

And you can also see the difference routing can make to a connection as well:

As with most speed test sites you get a reflection of your connection speed in the real world, however I know from personal experience that sometimes these sites can drive calls into technical support departments when people aren’t quite getting the speed they expect.I, for example, am on a 4Mb/s connection and yet the maximum speed I got when running tests was 3,453Kb/s – which is obviously not 4Mb/s. However I am also aware of how network loads, routing and server load can affect speed tests quite dramatically. A good example of which is shown in the speed test to Sydney where I only got 1.3Mb/s, this will probably be due to Australia being an island with only a limited number of connections available; if these connections are busy then they will choke traffic and so slow any connections using them down. If you really want to test your connection speed then simply visit Microsoft’s Download page and download a large file from there – I currently use the .Net framework as it is a good size. Just choose to save this to your PC, it doesn’t matter where as you can delete it after the dowdload, and check the transfer rate displayed.

You need to be aware that the transfer rate is normally displayed in KiloBYTES/second whereas broadband speeds are displayed in KiloBITS/second – as I’m sure you’re aware 1 BYTE is equal to 8 BITS so you need to multiply the transfer rate by 8, but it’s easier to round off to 10. So for a connection speed of 1Mb/s you should have a transfer rate of 125KB/s, or approximately 100KB/s, and for my connection speed of 4Mb/s I should have a transfer rate of 500KB/s and I actually achieve a sustained rate of 465KB/s – which is good enough for my liking.

You probably want to know why I recommend Microsoft as THE site to use to test your speed, right? Well there are 2 main reasons:

  1. Microsoft has a lot of server capacity spread all over the world. They are used to serving incredibly large amounts of data to Windows users every day, and they are also used to extreme load when they launch a new product or a new update comes out. Plus they have to deal with a large number of attacks regulalry, so they have a very good server infrastructure. This rules out server load when carrying out a speed test;
  2. Microsoft is probably the busiest site as a whole on the Internet. I’m not sure but I would imagine their bandwidth exceeds Googel, Yahoo and AOL by a large margin. Microsoft not only provide constant updates to Windows PCs on a daily basis, but they also host MSN and Hotmail aong with any of their other services. This means that the routing to Microsoft is always going to be good – you’re never likely to be routed through some slow section of network, or go an indirect router. Microsoft’s various domains are probably top of all router tables on the Internet, which means you’re always going to get a good connection.

This means that if you are concrened about your speed the by all means use Speedtest.net, however if it shows your speed as less than you expected then try the above test and this will give you probably the best indication of your speed you can get.


1. Zenex - April 27, 2008

I got 150 kb/s thats 1200 kbit/s on a 1.5mb connection on microsoft website. Speed test has a server in my town, which happens to be Perth, Australia, and I got 170 kb/s on there, which equates to 1360 kbits.