To find out what your internet speeds are, visit Speedtest.net and click on Begin test.
To get an accurate result, make sure your internet connection isn’t being used for anything else while the test runs. That means no Netflix streaming, watching YouTube videos or Dropbox syncing. Fear not, the test only takes a minute. But your results will vary throughout the day, so you might want to run the test a few times.
The three values in the results are:
- Download speed
- Upload speed
- Ping time
Download speed is the most important number. It’s the upper bound of how fast you can download from the internet. It will affect how fast web pages load, how quickly YouTube videos stream, and just about everything else you do online.
Download speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps or Mb/s). To convert to how many MB (Megabytes) you can download in a second, divide the number by eight. For example, a 10 Mb/s connection would be able to download 10 / 8 = 1.25 MB (Megabytes) in a second, or a little less than the size of an average web page.
You upload whenever you send files from your computer, like uploading pictures to Facebook, sharing a file on Dropbox, adding an attachment to an email or backing up your files to the cloud. The higher the number, the less time it takes to upload.
The units are the same as downloads, megabits per second, but the speeds are often much lower, especially with cable internet services like Comcast.
A network ping is like a submarine sending out a radar ping. The shorter the better. Generally if it’s less than 50 ms you shouldn’t have any noticeable problems.
Pings are measured in milliseconds, or one thousandth of a second. It’s pretty cool if you think about it. You send a tiny ping across the country (or even the world), the server replies that it’s there, and the round trip takes less than a second.