Speeding up broadband

This week, I want to show you how to test the speed of your broadband connection using a Web-based network testing application. Ookla, a company that specializes in Web-based testing applications, tests their products on Speedtest.net, which makes them freely available to anyone who wants to test a high-speed connection. To start, go to www.speedtest.net. Once there, you should see a basic map of North America with pyramid icons scattered about. The pyramids represent servers you may use to test your connection. Speedtest will select the nearest one to you and make it a light orange color. You have the choice of testing with that server or you may select a different one by clicking on another pyramid. Clicking on any pyramid icon will start the three-step testing process. In step one, Speedtest communicates with the test server. This step happens very quickly, dont blink or you might miss it. The second step measures the download speed, the one most important to Web surfers, while the third step measures the upload speed. The results of steps two and three are reported as a number of bits per second. My results with the Los Angeles server were 7424Kbps download and 909Kbps for upload. Those speeds are both good for my cable connection and normal for an asymmetrical connection. Asymmetrical connections offer higher download speeds than upload speeds. Speedtest allows free testing, storing results and for comparing results with others. What are good test results? The documentation for your broadband service should mention bandwidth or throughput which should be comparable to your test results. If your results are low I recommend you test the connection a few times over a few days. If those results are consistently low, call or e-mail your provider and ask them why. Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant.

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