You just finished upgrading from a 12Mbps package to a 50Mbps package, but how do you really know you’re getting what you’re paying for? Most people turn to taking a speed test through a third party. An internet speed test will give you an idea of how fast your connection is in the moment you take it. We will cover the factors that go into receiving an accurate speed test result and what you should do if your results are lower than the range you should be receiving.

The Speed Test

Before answering the title question, lets begin by talking about how a speed test works. The third party will first determine the closest test server they have to your location. Once that has been determined, the test will send a “ping”, which is a small packet of data, to the selected server. The test server then sends the ping immediately back. The test is measuring how long it takes for the ping to be sent and get back and how quickly it can upload/download the data in the packet.

There are several services out there that can perform this test. One of the more reliable reported by CNET (2019) is Ookla’s speed test, which gives you the option to change the test server being used. This is important because the test will send the ping to that server. If the server is on the other side of the country, you can expect the test to report a slower result. This is why you will often get varying results from different third parties because they use different servers.

The Factors

To get the most accurate results, you want to take the test on a completely clear network. Taking the test while you are streaming video, downloading anything or have a lot of other connected devices using up some of the bandwidth will result in a lower result. Remember, the test will be testing the available resources. Less is available when you have other devices or activities happening on your network.

The way your device is connected is also a factor. Hard-wired connections to your router will automatically boost the amount of speed you have available. Wireless connections lose some of this when the Wi-Fi signal needs to travel from the router to your device. Especially if it has to travel through a lot of material or a long distance. If you do test on a wireless device, choose a location with the least amount of interference. This usually means being right next to your router.

Your equipment plays a large factor as well. Older devices or devices that do not have the latest software updates will not run as efficiently. Learn what speeds some devices are capable of here. For higher speed packages, such as gig speed service, you will need an upgraded router capable of handling those speeds. Old routers can often limit your speed availability dramatically. Reliance Connects offers compatible routers that can be rented for a small additional monthly cost.

Contact us

If you have taken all these recommended measures to get an accurate speed test and still are receiving a speed lower than you feel you should have, please do not hesitate to call our help desk. We can troubleshoot the issue with you. If you are using our latest router, we have insights into your service that will help us correct issues. When contacted, we will start a ticket and get someone out to your location if that is what is needed to correct the problem. Fiber is a stable connection and customers should expect to get up to the speed they are subscribed to. The Reliance Connects Help Desk is available Monday-Friday from 7am-9pm and Saturday-Sunday from 8am-5pm.

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