There’s no arguing that Internet connection speed defines our overall online experience. If you spend a huge chunk of your monthly budget for a broadband service, it’s important that you get the speed and bandwidth promised by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) in your contract.
Over the recent years, ISPs have increased their Internet speeds. According to Akamai’s 2016 3rd Quarter report, Singapore came out on top for the highest average peak Internet connection speed worldwide at 162 Mbps. She also ranked third in the world for average Internet connection speed at 18.2 Mbps, trailing behind South Korea and Hong Kong.
But just because your local ISP advertises a certain level of service, does that mean you’re actually receiving the kind of service you’re paying for? To find out, you can run internet speed tests to see the speeds that you are getting. However, as a general rule of the thumb, your speed test result may vary depending on your workstation setup and how you are getting your internet connection (e.g. wired or wireless?).
By the end of this article, we hope that you better understand the different things involved with the results you get from your speed tests. Here are the following topics that we will talk about:
- How Speed Tests Work
- Things that Affect Internet speed
- Your Speed Test Results
How Speed Tests Work
Your Internet Speed measures the time it takes to transfer a certain amount of data from the Internet back to your computer.
Your broadband’s service level will generally depend on the promised download speed (measured in Mbps or Megabits per second). Running a speed test will calculate your download speed, as well as upload speed and network latency.
What is Mbps?
Mbps or Megabits per second is the unit of measurement for your data transfer speed. One unit of data is called “bit”. One megabit is equivalent to 1 million bits. So, the higher your Mbps, the faster it is to load web pages, stream videos and upload files.
It Illustrates how fast it takes to download or pull files from a web server to your computer. You may have observed that ISPs normally offer faster download speed than upload speed. That’s because users generally use the internet mainly to consume content such as video streaming and web surfing. It is measured in Mbps.
It simply measures how long it will take to upload or transfer files from your computer to a web server. This is an important indicator if you regularly upload videos, music or photos on the web. This is also measured in Mbps.
Ping or Latency
Expressed in milliseconds, ping reveals the quality of your Internet connection by measuring how quick your service reacts to your request. So, the lower the ping or network latency, the more responsive your connection is. Ping is an important factor for when you need faster response time such as when playing online video games.
This measures the time difference in between latency in packets since some packets may take longer to transmit data from one network to another. Jitter occurs during route changes, timing drift and network congestion. This is often an issue when communicating through VoIP services and video conferences.
Things that Affect Internet Speed
Internet Service Provider
It is common knowledge that ISPs throttle their user’s Internet connection once their usage hit a certain limit each month. Even ISPs that offer “unlimited” broadband or mobile plans may still throttle your service after consuming a larger bandwidth threshold.
Once you reached your data cap, your ISP might slow down or throttle the service. Others may also charge extra for data above cap or just cut off your access altogether. These so-called data caps are implemented to lessen network congestion and control bandwidth consumption of heavy users.
Of course, the quality of service will depend largely on the type of Internet connection you choose. While not as fast as cable or fiber optics, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection is way better than dial-up in terms of speed. It’s a popular choice because it’s cheaper and more suitable for casual home use.
Cable connection runs on coaxial cable that connects to your cable TV. It’s 3-4 times faster than DSL so expect it to be a little more expensive. Unlike DSL, your cable connection will not depend on the distance from the main ISP’s connection, so your speed is guaranteed. This is recommended for business or corporate use.
Fiber optics offers far more superior connection of them all because it transmits data over long distances and the cable is smaller and weighs less. It is less expensive than cable so its price comes toe-to-toe with DSL. Fiber optics is now widely available in Singapore, so please check with your ISP if your home is fiber-ready!
If you’re planning to surf the web around 6 pm, chances are, there may be a handful of other users on the Internet as well. Just as when you’re driving during rush hour, the number of users using the Internet will definitely affect your speed. Some home-based freelancers prefer to work later in the evening where there’s lesser people clogging the Internet connection.
Keep in mind, as more devices consume shared bandwidth over time, your ISP might throttle the service or cause it to slow down to ensure that other users get their fair use of the bandwidth.
Number of Devices
Your Internet speed will also depend on the number of computers sharing the bandwidth at home. If your ISP advertises their service at 6Mbps download speed, but you have 3 computers downloading stuff simultaneously, then the allocated bandwidth will be shared among these computers. Any one of these computers will have lesser speed than what is advertised.
Take the Vodien Speed Test
Now that you understand what your speed test entails, it’s time to put your broadband connection to the test. It should give you an idea of how fast or slow your service is. Just click on the link below to test your Internet service.
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