Is there anything more annoying than wanting to download your favourite movie or album and it taking so long that by the time it’s ready you’ve lost interest? Or how about when you’re playing online games with your friends but the Broadband causes lag. You can solve this by conducting speed tests, but which is the best broadband speed test?
What is Broadband?
In the past dial-up was a popular method of connection. Dial-up used a modem that connected a computer to phone lines causing an array of odd noises and buzzing, it only allowed you to use one piece of a technology at a time. Downloading media and browsing the internet would also take a considerably long time.
Therefore, when broadband was introduced it is no surprise that it became so popular. This is as it allows you to browse the internet, check your emails and download whatever you like at a fast rate, shown by carrying out a broadband speed test. You can also have a multiple amount of people connected to it at the same time limiting the amount of fights over who’s turn it is.
What are Mbps?
Broadband speed tests are measured by a unit known as Mbps which stands for Megabits Per Second. It is a way of measuring the bandwith and throughput of a particular network. The higher the number of Mbps the faster your internet should be.
You may be wondering what sort of Mbps you should be aiming for to help you do everyday tasks such as streaming films, playing online games and taking part in video calls.
Here is table to help you work it out.
|Speed||Loading a standard web page||Downloading a 5 minute song||Video stream quality|
|1Mbps||0.8 seconds||41 seconds||Low quality|
|2Mbps||0.4 seconds||20 seconds||Medium quality|
|4Mbps||0.1 seconds||5 seconds||Medium quality|
|6Mbps||Instant||3.5 seconds||Medium quality|
|8Mbps||Instant||2.5 seconds||TV quality|
|12Mbps||Instant||1 second||TV quality|
Which Mbps speed should you be aiming for?
If you are still unsure what Mbps would be best suited to your household here a few useful tips.
- 17Mbps – Great for small households and using multiple devices online. But downloading an HD movie could take up to half an hour.
- 38mbps – Ideal for families with a number of devices as there is the ability for multiple devices online. This speed will take up to 15 minutes to download an HD Movie.
- 76mbps – Ideal if you get annoyed by slow internet, it is the best way to stream online TV and downloading an HD movie will take around 8 minutes.
How to get an accurate reading during a broadband speed test
- It is important to make sure there are no apps or programs running whilst you are conducting a speed test. This is as another program or app could potentially be using the same connection meaning the speed test results may lack in accuracy.
Don’t carry out one broadband speed test and assume it is correct. The speed test server you use will most likely be used at the same time by others. This means at peak times, the reading may not be reliable. Therefore it is best to to carry out multiple speed tests at random points of the day on different days.
Is anyone else using the broadband? Anyone else on your network using the internet may affect the outcome of the test. For instance if they are downloading a film, playing online or are on video chat with their friends. These could all take a toll on your results
Use an Ethernet cable to directly connect to your broadband. This is to help get a better quality reading as if you are experiencing slow internet, it may simply be your WiFi connection that is the problem.
What affects broadband speed?
It is common for people who are paying for a faster broadband speed to only actually be recieving speeds that are half or more than what they should be getting. But what are the reaons for this?
- Number of connections – If there is more than one person connecting to your broadband at the same time it is likely to cause a decrease in speed.
- Cable quality – It is important to keep an eye on the condition of your cables. If they have been damaged in anyway then this will inevitably cause slow speeds.
- Weather – If you happen to be in the middle of a storm with heavy winds or rain then this will most likely be the cause of slow broadband speeds.
- Viruses – A good tip is to make sure you have some sort of anti-virus software on your devices, this is as if you get a virus or some malware, they will cut down on your connection.
The best broadband speed tests
When deciding which test is the best broadband speed test, it is important to compare them with each other to see which tests give similar results. Therefore we ran a number of our own tests to see which is the best broadband speed test.
|Broadband Speed Checker||78.94Mbps||87.82Mbps||84ms|
According to OOKLA themselves they are the worlds most popular speed test, with over 5 millions tests done a day. They provide global coverage allowing for speed tests to be available from more than 3500 servers all over the world.
When running a speed test it is important to ensure you are selecting the most appropriate server. OOKLA will do this for you. Although don’t put all your trust into it as it doesn’t always choose the best server and can therefore sometimes give inaccurate results.
OOKLA are available on both desktop via the internet at speedtest.net, or as an app on your phone.
After one simple click of a button you can get your broadband speed test results. Although basic in that it only tells you the average and not the highest and lowest readings, what makes broadband speed checker good is that you can compare your results.
Once your results are calculated you can see other results in your area to compare your results with what other people are getting. This is great as if your’s is lower than other typical speeds you know it is time to upgrade.
There is also a feature where you can find out what the best speeds are that you could be getting. This is by entering your postcode and the Mbps that you believe to be paying for.
Unlike some of the other Broadband Speed Tests, Think Broadband requires you to tell them your postcode and provider.
They claim the test will take anywhere between 20 seconds and 1 minute to complete and once completed will give you the results for download, upload and latency. The results are presented in a easy to read graph that pinpoints the highest and lowest upload/download speeds before giving you an average. You can also view the results in more of a graph format.
A useful feature of this site is that it will keep track of your previous speed tests, therefore if you think your broadband is slow on a particular day you can run a test to compare.
We found this broadband speed tester through the BBC website Watchdog next to a video where the Watchdog Team find out if everyday people are getting the broadband speeds they are paying for. Therefore suggesting that this speed tester has high reliablity.
The test itself is basic with a simple animated dial to calculate your download, upload and latency speeds. It gives you no options to tell them your postcode and to select the server you would like the test to be ran on. The data you get also doesn’t show you the highest and lowest points reached.
Therefore, if the little details it takes to get an accurate broadband speed reading confuses you, this could be perfect as doing the test requires one click of a button and your results are given to you straight away.
Choosing the best broadband speed test can be difficult as most of the time, you won’t get exactly the same result. This is due to the number of factors that can affect it, the server, the internet, the range and more. So which of the tests listed are best?
In our opinion, for those who have broadband knowledge OOKLA is a good choice of broadband speed test as you can choose the server the test is done on. Whereas if you are looking for a quick broadbands speed test with little knowledge Broadband speed performance could be a sensible option.
If you are looking to improve your broadband speed, why not try the best wireless router 2018?