When you sign up for a broadband connection because they offered “up to 60Mbps”, don’t get your hopes up! Remember the phrase “up to”, which means you could get more, or you could get less. So how do you know exactly how fast is your connection? Read on to find out.


First off, you need to understand that your broadband speed can be affected by all sorts of things. These may include the distance of your router, wiring, the joints in the wiring, router quality, faceplate, or time of the day you’re using it. It’s advisable that you go online at off peak hours, as in midday for fewer users will be fighting for the available bandwidth.


The best way to run your speed test is by using a high quality ethernet cable. Do not run tests over wifi because it will not give you accurate speed results. Why? Because wifi connections are much slower and less reliable compared to ethernet connections.


Understanding How Speed Tests Work


Some speed tests are Flash-based, but the recent ones doesn’t require it. Instead, it will run with any recent browser having JavaScript. These include the iPad, Galaxy Tab, Kindle Fire, or Google Nexus. Some can even test your speed on your mobile phones without having to install any apps. These include iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Windows Phone devices such as Nokia Lumia 630.


Basically the tests sends data to your browser to get an idea how fast your connection is and how quickly these transfers begin. Then based on this figure it will send a large amount of data in order to measure how fast this can be transferred. This is then randomised then designed so as not to benefit from compression and caching will be prevented. But certain factors can affect this such as proxies and other browser features. Thus, you need to make sure that these are switched off before you begin.


Enough data is sent to saturate your connection to make sure that even the quickest lines are tested accurately. It will run multiple times then the figures are averaged. This is done to get the best indication of the speed of your connection. The upload portion of the test requires a similar test, only random data will be sent back to the speed test provider’s servers.


Could Be Your WiFi


You could also find out if you are actually experiencing a broadband speed problem or a WiFi issue. You can do this by testing your broadband speed with your laptop near the router. If you think it’s fast enough, you might need to improve the signal strength of the location of your PC where you are having problems. If the WiFi remains slow, it can either be a laptop or router problem. Try a different laptop to see if you will still have the same concerns afterwards.


If your laptop’s WiFi is the one causing the problem, you might have to plug in a USB wireless adaptor. Cheap single-band adaptors are not recommended because it may not give you the right speed that you need. Instead, invest on a dual-band service like Netgear A6100. You could also opt for USB 3 adaptors but of course, they are more expensive. Meanwhile, if other laptops are just as slow as yours, your router might be the culprit. Ask your ISP if they can give you an upgrade. If not, find other router alternatives.


On Switching Providers


If you are still not satisfied with the results and you think that switching to a new broadband provider is the best answer to your need for speed, then by all means go! But bear in mind these important tips before making the switch.


  1. Use a price comparison tool. This will allow you to see how one broadband service provider is better than the other. You’ll get a bigger picture on everything’s that’s in store for you and end up getting the best deal!


  1. Go Unlimited. This is the best option so you’ll have a worry-free mind. Not only can you work in peace, your family could also enjoy online gaming, videos, music and movie streaming without a hiccup. Imagine streaming your fave movie and getting cut off in the middle simply because your broadband is capped. What a bummer!


  1. Choose to Bundle. If a landline and a pay-TV could also be of good use to you or your family, why not bundle up? Look for broadband packages that have unlimited calls. If you don’t use the phone, choose broadband-only or just pay as you go phone calls. Great bundles also come in handy for weekend couch potatoes. Get those premium channels at a reasonable price when you compare broadband packages.


  1. Stick to your Budget. It doesn’t matter if you have the fastest broadband speeds or best bundles. All this is useless if you can’t afford it! Be honest with yourself and figure out how much you can shell out each month for these services. There’s nothing wrong with getting supreme service, so long as you can pay for it. Enjoy!


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