How to do the wifi speed test the right way, with all the requirements met to make a measurement done well.
READ ALSO: App to do a speed test from a smartphone
How to use the speed test
There are several reasons why you may want to take the Internet speed test and we can briefly indicate at least six:
- Find out if you are getting the speed you are paying for at the network provider
- See if it is convenient to change network provider (by provider we mean TIM, Fastweb, Vodafone, and so on)
- Set up a new router and check Wi-Fi coverage in the house
- Verify that the Wi-Fi speed is appropriate for the service you are using, for example to stream movies or play online games
- Check that different device such as Apple TV, Fire Stick or game console are using Wi-Fi at full speed
- Understanding what time of day the internet is slower
In the case of a slow Wi-Fi connection, before going to investigate the causes of a possible problem, it is necessary to see if it is true that there is a decrease in network performance. We must therefore test the Wi-Fi speed, and easy operation to do, which however requires some requirements to be met in order to have a true and precise result.
Speed text parameters
Most speed tests available on the Internet provide different values for the following parameters:
- Ping (measured in milliseconds or ms)
- Download speed (in Megabits per second or Mbps)
- Upload speed (in Megabits per second or Mbps)
The Ping measures latency on a network, the time it takes for a data packet to be sent from one computer to another and back. For example, if latency is high (greater than 150 milliseconds), lag can occur that adversely affects multiplayer games or the loading of a live stream. To learn more we can also read our guide What it means to do Ping.
The download speed indicates the speed at which data is downloaded to our computer or device. This is certainly a very important value, given that most of the data we receive, therefore, must take the shortest possible time (the more Megabits per second we will have the faster we will download). The test downloads multiple blocks of data to the computer, adjusting the number of connections and size to download at maximum speed.
The upload speed shows how quickly your computer or device can upload data online, for example when adding files to a cloud service or when playing online. Upload speed tends to be underestimated but it is equally important, as its saturation will make it very difficult to browse the Internet (even with high download speeds). Having a slow upload speed will also make it difficult to play online, as our data will travel slower than our rivals generating delays and lag.
The upload test works in a similar way but to the download test: the browser loads blocks of data, adjusting the size and number of connections to ensure that the entire connection bandwidth is used.
In the end, they can compare the measured values to verify that the required speed for a certain service is available. For example, for Netflix 4K you need a download speed of at least 25 Mbps, while for HD streaming you need at least a speed of 5 Mbps. The measured values can also be compared with those promised during the subscription or contract with the provider to see if you are getting what you deserve or if there is a problem.
How to do an accurate and reliable speed test
To do the Internet test correctly it is important to take some into account requirements that must necessarily be respected before performing the speed test.
- We carry out the test with the computer connected via Ethernet cable to the modem, this is the only way we can rule out problems with Wi-Fi. If the modem is too far away or we are testing from Smart TV, smartphone, tablet, or Fire TV Stick we recommend using the 5GHz network or let’s get a 5GHz Wi-Fi repeater
- We run the test several times: we advise you to do at least three tests, to be sure of the measured values. This is because there is a lot of volatility in these tests and it may be that on three times more or less different results are always obtained, from which it will be necessary to make an average.
- The test can give different results depending on the time of day; one of the biggest factors affecting Internet speed is the number of users who are connected at the same time. During “peak hours”, for example on Sunday nights when everyone is watching Netflix, the measured internet speed will likely be slower than at other times. You could then repeat the tests at various times of the day to calculate when there is a decline in network performance. As seen in the past, it is possible to check your internet speed throughout the day through an automatic program.
- When testing, make sure that no other device, computer or smartphone, is downloading. If there is another device that downloads data or if Netflix is being streamed on the TV, then the test will certainly give values much lower than the real one, because part of the band is busy. This requirement may seem obvious, but since Wi-Fi connected devices in a home, today can be different, you need to make sure they are not using network bandwidth. For best results, you should turn off or disconnect as many Wi-Fi-connected devices as possible, including your TV and smartphone, or at least make sure they’re not downloading.
- Before the test better restart your computer. To have a reliable speed test it is important that the PC is not busy doing something else and that all programs except the Speedtest are closed. We also keep an eye on the automatic program start to disable any processes that can synchronize data online or download updates and occupy network bandwidth)
- The test must be performed without proxy and VPN. Obviously, to have a correct measurement of your Wi-Fi connection, it is important that you do not use filters such as VPN and Proxy and that the browser does not have active extensions and data compression options that can limit the download speed.
Speed test sites
After all these premises it is time to see the best services to perform precise speed tests, so as to have a precise measurement of the performance of our Internet connection. The first site we recommend is Speedtest, which is among the most reliable.
To start it, all we have to do is press the Go button and wait for the results, which can be obtained after a few seconds. In the end, we will be able to analyze the download, upload, and ping speeds of the network and make the necessary assessments.
In addition to Ookla, other speed test sites are available such as Fast.com.
This service offered Netflix that allows you to see if there is enough connection speed to see streaming videos at maximum quality, giving priority to the download speed. If we want to find out other data such as upload speed and ping, just click on the bottom Show more information. Note that by searching on Google’s “speed test” it becomes possible to do a connection speed test directly from Google by pressing the button Run speed tests.
If we want to use other sites for the speed test, we recommend that you read our article on how to check the real internet connection speed.
Performing a speed test of your Internet line is really very simple and, once you have learned all the information, we can do it from any device, just open the web browser and use one of the services we have shown you above (even from smartphones, tablets, and Smart TV).
If we want to learn more about tests for Internet connections, we invite you to read our guides ADSL test: how do you measure internet speed? is What slows down your network speed (Wi-Fi or wired) and your internet connection.