How to test internet speed?

Global Network

Experiencing sluggish internet speeds? Discover how to assess your connection and take action if the speeds are lower than desired.

If you find yourself staring at a buffering icon more than the actual content you’re trying to stream, it’s evident that your internet is not performing optimally. While you can sense the issue without a speed test, conducting one can provide insights into the severity of the problem and the extent of the slow speeds. Armed with this information, you can take steps to resolve the issue.

In some cases, the solution may be as straightforward as restarting your modem and router, which should always be your initial troubleshooting step. Alternatively, upgrading to a mesh network can offer a more permanent and effective solution. Below, we’ll guide you on how to assess the speed of your internet connection and provide helpful advice for troubleshooting.

Perform a Speed Test on Your Computer, Phone, or Tablet

To check your internet speed, you can utilize various apps and websites specifically designed for speed testing. Popular options include,, and CloudFlare. Whether you opt for an app or a website, it’s advisable to perform multiple tests to obtain a reliable measure of your connection’s performance. Each test typically takes less than a minute to complete and provides download and upload speed results.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established guidelines for household broadband speeds based on the number of connected devices and users. Basic service, ranging from 3 to 8Mbps, is suitable for light usage such as browsing, email, video calls, and streaming HD video. Medium service, classified as 12-25Mbps, is ideal for up to three users or devices engaging in medium to high usage activities. Advanced service encompasses connection speeds exceeding 25Mbps and is recommended for more than four users or devices engaged in more than light usage.

Keep in mind that your internet speed can fluctuate based on factors like the time of day and the number of connected devices in use. To accurately assess your connection’s true speed, I recommend running multiple speed tests over the course of a day or two and tracking the results.

For those with technical proficiency, there is an option to employ a Raspberry Pi device to schedule speed tests and automatically upload the results to Google Drive. A helpful guide can assist you in setting up this automated speed testing system.

While it’s ideal to connect your computer directly to your ISP’s modem using an ethernet cable for speed testing, this may not always be feasible. An alternative option is to utilize your wireless router’s app to conduct a speed test.

Perform a Speed Test Using Your Wireless Router’s App

If you have a compatible wireless router, you can utilize its dedicated app to run a speed test. Popular routers like Google’s Nest Wi-Fi, Eero, Linksys, and Asus ZenWifi offer this capability. Through the app, you can easily check your internet connection’s speed and performance. This method is considered more accurate since the router is directly connected to your modem.

In the event that the speed test results are lower than expected, it may not necessarily mean you need to replace your router immediately. However, if your router is quite old, it’s worth considering an upgrade since technology advancements can impact performance. For routers purchased in the last couple of years, the issue may be attributed to other factors, and a new router might not be necessary.

Troubleshooting Steps for Slower Internet Speeds

If you’re experiencing slower internet speeds than expected, there are several actions you can take to address the issue. Firstly, I recommend power cycling your modem and wireless router by turning them off for approximately 60 seconds before turning them back on. This simple step often resolves speed-related problems. Additionally, CNET’s Ry Crist provides valuable tips on improving and optimizing Wi-Fi performance, which can help restore your network to its optimal state.

It’s important to note that resolving speed issues isn’t always as straightforward as contacting your internet service provider (ISP) and reporting the problem. ISPs have the ability to throttle your connection speed, which can contribute to slower speeds. However, there are ways to determine if this is the case or if there are other underlying factors causing the slowdown.

Another useful step is to check your provider’s app or website for any reported outages. For instance, if you’re using Comcast Xfinity, you can open the Xfinity My Account app to check for service issues and obtain an estimated restoration time. Confirming that the problem lies with your provider allows you to skip unnecessary troubleshooting steps.

Lastly, contacting your provider can help ensure that your modem is compatible with the speed of your current plan. They can also inform you about any available plans or promotions that might be worth upgrading to, enabling you to obtain the necessary speeds for a productive and enjoyable online experience.

Joshua Brick
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