What is my speed test telling me?

We are frequently asked questions about speed test results such as:
“I am paying for XX mbps download speeds yet I only ever receive YY mbps download speeds”
“If I am paying for XX mbps download speed why am I only using YY mbps download speeds”.

So, in the interest of sharing information we thought it would be helpful to discuss the different factors that affect the in-home quality of your internet service. 

First and foremost, there are a number of reasons why speed tests may show varying results. The majority of in-home internet users, ourselves included, access the web via wireless networks. These networks are the first place to look. Some common questions that we ask customers are as follows:

  1. Are you connected wirelessly to your router, or is your computer hard-wired to the router?
  2. If you are on your home’s Wi-Fi network, which Wi-Fi network are you connected to? 2.4 GHz or 5GHz?
    Why? Because the 2.4GHz network will not run as fast as the 5GHz network assuming all things are equal (signal strength, distance from router, etc.). 
  3. What wireless devices are in or near your home?
    Why? Well, in/near-home signal interference (potentially caused by a neighbor’s router, other wireless/cordless devices broadcasting in the near area such as wireless printers, cordless phones, smart power meters etc.) may degrade the quality of connection from your device to your Wi-Fi router, thus affecting speed. 

One additional thing to note is average utilization, which your ISP can provide for you.  Bandwidth is like pie – you can only slice it up so many ways, and there’s only so much to go around for a given connection.  If one person in your home monopolizes your bandwidth (eats up all the pie) by downloading large amounts of data or constantly streaming information like 4k movies while you were hoping to do some surfing or streaming of your own, this will certainly have an impact on everyone’s internet experience and other people in the house may experience lag, buffering, etc. (and they won’t get a fair share of the pie).

All this to say – if you’re ever in doubt about whether or not you’re getting what you’re paying for, please ask us.  We’ll happily review your connection, usage, and general network health, share those results with you and let you know where you’re at.  If there’s an indication of a problem with speeds compared to what you’re actually paying for – we WILL address it honestly, and promptly.  We want you to enjoy your internet service as much as we enjoy providing it to you!

For more detailed info, this article goes a bit more in-depth.

Find out how much speed your household needs – Bandwidth Calculator

Speed test