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Internet Speedtest Tutorial and Comparison Reivew

© 2011 Brice Center (updated 2/14/11)          Please click here for the preferred URL for this page.

Speed Test - Where To, How To, What to Know

Where To My favorite; very quick interface, and gives good variety of USA server locations. Interface is slow, but gives many locations worldwide...see your speed to Australia. The server locations are all inside the Comcast network, which may help remove some
 variables when troubleshooting. However, the other external speed tests listed above
 may more closely simulate your actual real-world experience.

How To

Running a speed test is very easy.  Just go to a speed test website, click on a server of your choice, and read the results.  At first, pick the server that is closest to you.  Then pick one that is far away.

What to Know

  • Expect a closer server to give faster results, and a more distant server to give slower results.  See here for my test examples.
  • Expect the results to vary depending on time of day.  They will likely even vary minute-to-minute.  Your network speed is highly dependent on how many other people are on the internet at the same time.  You'll see your speeds to local servers become very high at 4am when most people, across all timezones in the USA, are sleeping.
  • If you pick a nearby server in a large urban area, you may actually get worse results than a server farther away in an area with a smaller population.
  • You may notice that your upload doesn't change.  Your ISP is likely throttling it.

Close Server = Faster Speeds  /  Distant Server = Slower Speeds

I live on the East Coast in Massachusetts.  Here are several speed test results taken seconds apart with my new SB6120 modem.
The tests were run on 2/14/11 at approx. 8:35pm EST.  You will notice that NYC and Wash.DC give faster speeds because they are closer to me than San Francisco or LA.

West Coast Servers
 East Coast Servers
San Francisco: 18.9 down / 2.61 up

New York City: 55.6 down / 2.7 up

Los Angeles: 26.4 down / 2.6 up

Washington, DC: 58.2 down / 2.7 up