Have you ever wondered if your Internet Service Provider is actually delivering the speed that they promised when you signed up for service? Maybe you suspect your speed isn’t quite what it is supposed to be. If so, here is a quick way to check how fast your internet really is.
We will cover some key points to get you up to speed on your internet connection (pun intended).
It’s easy to do and takes less time than reading this article.
Is My Internet Speed Really Important?
The answer here is a resounding, YES. In this day and age of streaming services, YouTube videos, and more, it is important that you are getting exactly what you’re paying for when it comes to internet service. Afterall, it isn’t cheap and often there isn’t any competition for your ISP to keep them honest.
When you signed up for the internet from your provider, you made an agreement to pay a certain amount of money each month for services. They agreed to deliver those services including a certain amount of speed and data for that money. Many, if not all, services based their prices on the speed they provide so it’s important to hold them accountable.
If you enjoy watching movies on popular streaming services like Hulu, NetFlix and Disney+, your internet speed will definitely affect your ability to enjoy these services without buffering and and connection issues. Again, you’re paying for it so you might as well make sure it’s being delivered.
For example, NetFlix recommends internet speeds of at least 5mbps (megabits per second) so if your connection speed is 5mbps, you should be good, right? Not exactly because you need to account for every device that is using the internet connection in your household.
If you have several devices connected, you will quickly find that streaming the final season of Game of Thrones will be even more abysmal than writing if your kid is also playing League of Legends in his bedroom. The maximum speed is divided between all users in your household, so your service plan needs to account for this.
Fortunately, internet connectivity has improved greatly over the years providing users with ultra fast connection speeds, but these speeds can vary immensely. Some plans only provide for 1mbps connections while others deliver over 1,000mbps (1 gigabit per second).
A good rule to set when signing up for internet service is 10mbps for each member of your household. The reason is that you will each have multiple devices connected to the internet at any given time such as phones, tablets, etc. Understanding and allowing for all the devices can make the difference between downloading movies in less than a minute to downloading a movie while you go out to dinner.
Test Your Internet Speed
Here is one of the quickest and easiest ways to test your connection speed.
1. Connect your computer directly to your router/modem using an ethernet cable if possible. Direct connections are more accurate than Wi-Fi as there can be interference from other electronic devices in your home even if they don’t use the internet.
2. Make sure no other devices are using your internet at the time you conduct your speed test.
3. Open your internet browser (doesn’t matter which one you use) and go to www.speedtest.net
4. Once there, the highly intuitive display will get you started testing your internet speed. (It literally says, “click here to test your internet speed”)
The test will show you what your download and upload speeds are for your computer. That easy!
What to do if Your Speed is Less Than You’re Paying For
If the speed test reveals that you are slightly slower than your plan promises, it really isn’t that big a deal since speeds can vary slightly and there are some other factors that could be slowing you down slightly like how many processes your computer has going at the time of the test.
However, if you see a drastic difference in your actual speed and what you’re paying for, you should take a screenshot of the result and contact your ISP to discuss the results. Often, your ISP can simply refresh your connection to instantly get you up to where you’re supposed to be.
Another thing to do is to conduct a speed test at different times of the day as connections speeds can differ. Take an average of these speeds and get some screenshots of the results.
In other cases, there may be problems on the ISP’s side that they need to address in which case you should ask for your bill to be reduced until they can resolve the matter. If they can’t get the problem corrected, then you should request that they lower your monthly bill to match the service that you’re actually receiving.