ADSL and fiber testing: how is internet speed measured?

Measure the internet speed here, find out how to do an ADSL or Fiber test and why the real download speeds are different from the promised ones

Internet testTHE speed test for home Internet connections they are useful to verify, actually, how much difference there is between the speed promised by the telephony operator and the real one. These tests have a dual purpose: to find the best provider for faster Internet and to check if you are paying a fair amount in proportion to the speed so that we can request immediate withdrawal in case of very low speed and/or unsatisfactory service.
However, what is not very clear is how Internet speed tests work and why there is so much different compared to the speeds declared in advertisements and subscription contracts.
So in this guide, we will show you in detail how internet speed is measured and how we have to analyze the test results, performed directly from this page thanks to the dedicated testing tool.READ ALSO: ADSL and optical fiber in Italy: are you paying for the promised speed?

How to test the Internet connection

Internet speed tests are measurements of how long a certain amount of data takes to travel between a test server and the computer. Based on the size of the file and the time it takes to get to the computer, the test calculates the download or download speed. The size of the file and the time required to pass from the computer to the server, thus doing the reverse path, determines the speed of uploading or loading data.
Usually, the download speed is higher than the upload speed because the use of the internet in the home environment more often involves downloading rather than sending data to the network, even if in recent times the upload request has also increased dramatically fast (thanks to the spread of remote desktop tools, multiplayer online games and video conferences with 10 or more people).

How to measure the speed of the home connection

You can quickly measure the speed of your connection directly by pressing the button below.

At the end of the measurement, we will have the download speed and the upload speed of our line, together with the ping measurement. We repeat this test at least 3 times and we average the values so that we can obtain a very accurate estimate of the speed of our connection.
Alternatively, we can also use other websites dedicated to the connection test:

  • Ookla Speedtest: this site allows you to check the internet speed in a very simple way. More than 50 million people use it and allow you to create an account, save the results to compare them over time in evaluating the ISP. The site also offers an evaluation system, so you can judge your internet provider and compare the Internet speed test results of other broadband providers in the area.
  • Fast.com: this testing site is offered by Netflix and immediately offers a measurement of the download speed, as well as the possibility to see the upload and ping of the connection.
  • SpeedofMe which has an excellent online tool in HTML5 to measure the internet speed in download and upload, in a very reliable way and with a performance graph.

Using one of the sites seen previously we will be able to perform very accurate speed tests and compare them with the speed promised by the operator in the subscription contract.

Speed ​​lower than expected: conversion problem

To understand why we detect discrepancies on connection speeds, we need to explain how you measure internet speed and, above all, the difference between megabits and megabytes. The speed of a network is indicated using bits per second abbreviated bps (bits per second), originally networks were so slow that their speed was measured in only bits. With the improvement of network technologies, we have gone from bits to kbps and then to kbps Megabit Mbps or Mb / s (megabits per second) of modern fiber-optic and ADSL lines.

This measurement system creates confusion: some programs and sites measure data transfer speed in a byte which is worth eight bits in length. A provider can, therefore, write that the internet speed is 100 Mb / s understood in MegaBIT per second, while in Megabye it is 12.5 MB / s (note the capital B).

Many programs that download from the Internet (Google Chome, Torrent, etc.) always show the speed as MB / s (Megabyte per second), therefore generating a lot of confusion in the users who download.

The type phrase will be “but how was I not supposed to go to 100 Mega? I’m only going to 12.5 Mega!”; in this example, the user has misunderstood and does not know that in reality, it is sailing exactly at 100 Mega, but with another unit of measurement.
To avoid this type of error, we always use a converter like the one available on the ConvertLIVE website.

Line too slow: what to do?

Unfortunately, the real speed will never be as promised, given that the factors affecting the connection speed are numerous:

  • Distance from the telephone exchange
  • Distance from the provider cabin (control unit on the street)
  • Wear of copper cables for ADSL between the control unit, the control unit and the telephone socket at home (the optical fiber is more resistant, therefore it is preferable to the ADSL)
  • Congestion of the provider or how many people are connected at the same time (at night it will always be faster)
  • The Internet provider slows (or “chokes”) certain types of traffic, such as peer-to-peer traffic from eMule, BitTorrent or IPTV
  • Server-Side problems or the site from which you are downloading (too many connections)

If we notice a line that slows down even at night, not exceeding certain values, on a known website and without obvious problems, probably our line presents problems and it is necessary to investigate.
AGCOM, the authority for communications guarantees, provides official software to measure the internet, and actually check if it is too slow compared to what was promised during the activation of the contract with the provider. This official data can be used to make a complaint and, in case, also to withdraw from a contract or a subscription.
The program is called Ne.Me.Sys. (Network Measurement System) and can be downloaded from the website Misurainternet.it for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Ne.Me.Sys

We allow this program to run for 3 days in a row (we never turn off the computer!), In order to finally obtain a certificate of line speed over an appropriate period of time to provide information on the actual line speed.

Conclusions

Internet tests will allow you to immediately understand if the Internet speed expected for the home line is adequate and, if done at the right time, will allow you to find out if it is the chosen site that slows down or it is our home connection.
In case of very low speeds or not in line with the contract, we carry out some conversions and, even if we notice evident slowdowns even at night, we immediately proceed with the Ne.Me.Sys. Test, so as to be able to nail the operator to his responsibilities.

We do not know what to choose from the various fiber offers (always preferable to ADSL)? Let’s clear up any doubts about the types of Internet connection for home by reading our guide VDSL, FTTC, and FTTH fiber: which differences and which is better?
If, on the other hand, we do not know how to check the coverage and the best offers for fiber, we will only have to read our study Best Optical Fiber: check coverage and offers.

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