When you connect your home internet, you buy a certain tariff plan depending on the speed of your connection. The faster the connection, the more you pay. So it’s important to know how to make sure you’re getting the quality you pay for.
You may be surprised to find that this is not the case. As streaming services like Netflix become more popular and screen resolutions jump from HD to 4K, the importance of home internet quality has also increased.
Services to check your computer’s speed
There are many programs and sites that check home Internet speeds. Some of the most popular checking services include Speedtest.net or Fast.com.
With a Speedtest.net account, you can change the settings, such as selecting a server to test, and making it permanent so that it is saved each time you visit. You can also view your entire home Internet test history to see how your connection changes over time. This is handy if you’re on a service upgrade or downgrade and want to see the change reflected in real life, not just in your bill.
As for Fast.com, it runs an immediate test. Click and get more results, download the test results. On Fast.com, however, you can’t select a server to test on.
You can also use PR-CY. Service with similar functionality to Fast.com. But in addition to checking the speed it carries out other analyses, so it is an extremely useful tool for advanced users.
Regardless of whether you install an app or use a website, it is recommended to run the test several times to assess the performance and speed of the Internet on the router. Each test takes less than a minute, offering download and upload results:
- Basic service ranges from 3 Mbps to 8 Mbps. This will be enough for light home internet use (web browsing, email, video calling, streaming video, etc.).
- Medium service — 12 to 25 Mbps is best for three users or medium to high usage devices at the same time, depending on activity.
- Extended Service — This is any home Internet speed above 25 Mbps, which is better suited for those with more than four users or devices using the connection at the same time for easier use.
The quality of the connection depends on the time of day, the number of connected devices in use, and other factors. It’s best to run several home Internet tests over a day or two, monitoring the results to compare and evaluate objectively.
Ideally, to test your router’s Internet speed, you should connect your computer directly with a cable to run the test.
How WI-FI Speed Differentiates
Wireless signals can transmit all kinds of data. In essence, it is simply electromagnetic waves propagating in the air a certain frequency spectrum — the speed of the Internet on the computer with which the signal vibrates. Consequently, routers exchange information at 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies. The main differences are:
- Speed. Under ideal conditions, Wi-Fi 2.4 will support speeds up to 450 Mbps or 600 Mbps, while Wi-Fi 5 will support speeds up to 1,300 Mbps. Maximum Internet quality on your computer depends on which wireless standard the router supports.
- Band Noise Splash. The 2.4 GHz band is designed for many users. It is used by many devices such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, and microwaves. This can lead to a significant reduction in speed and sometimes even complete blockage of the WiFi signal. The 5 GHz band is much less busy, which means the user has a high-speed connection at home.
In most cases, a 5 GHz router is a promising choice, but switching from one version to another can be futile if the user can’t use it to its full potential. If the user lives in a place where there are few other networks and the Internet connection is less than 25−50 Mbps, you might consider a 2.4 GHz router to save money. On the other hand, if you need fast wireless Internet, you should invest in a 5 GHz router. This is to avoid band congestion and make full use of the connection.
It’s better to keep the router in an open, central location. Household appliances, walls and large metal objects can negatively affect your WiFi signal. Make sure your router is up-to-date. Updating your router firmware helps prevent bandwidth theft and slowdowns.
Questions our subscribers have
How do I check the Internet speed on my phone?
You can use apps like Speedtest on Android as well as iOS. The app also shows a real-time graph presenting information about the connection. You can see how stable your network is with this feature.
Why is the actual speed lower than the plan description?
Speedtest measures your network connection in real time, so the tests may vary slightly depending on network congestion and bandwidth. If your Speedtest results vary significantly, make sure you’re testing the same connection.
If I have up to 100 Mbps, how many devices can run at the same time?
If you’re using a broadband Internet connection with download speeds up to 100 Mbps, you can comfortably stream ultra-HD quality video to up to 4 devices simultaneously.
Gigabit (1000 Mbps) is enough for home use?
Most of us don’t use 1000 Mbps. However, these speeds are well worth it for techies, streamers, and families with more than four devices.