Test your internet connection speeds
The free internet speed test tool has been designed to let you know what download and upload speeds you are receiving. It's important to know what measure of speed your ISP has advertised to you and what you actually receive.
Your speed check results can vary from time to time throughout the day depending on traffic levels, or if your ISP is experiencing problems at their end. Internet speed is generally measured in kbps (kilobits per second) and unless you have an SDSL connection your download speed should be much greater than your upload speed. For more technical broadband related terms see the glossary page.
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To start your internet speed check hit the Begin Test best button and watch the performance scan do its thing. You must have Adobe Flash installed on your machine for the test to run properly.
Be sure to bookmark this website and if you ever feel your broadband is running slow, run a quick test and see what speeds you're getting.
See if you're getting the fast download and upload speeds that you pay for by running a free internet speed test. If your internet connection seems to be running slow, or you suspect your bandwidth to be capped, run a quick speed check and note down the results. The free speed checker is the quickest way of troubleshooting a slow connection or testing your downloads and uploads. For best results, run numerous tests throughout the day to see what time your internet is fastest and which time it's slowest.
Broadband speed and computer speed is slightly different, however a slow computer can degrade your internet browsing experience too. Faster browsing will be complimented by a fast PC. There are various ways of speeding up your computer by running diagnostics such as Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmentation. For best results click here to run a performance scan to help improve your PC speed.
In short and simple terms, Broadband is what we call a faster internet connection. Not so long ago we were all used to using a phone cable for a very slow dial up connection. If you didn't have a dedicated line for dial-up, the landline would be engaged. With Broadband you can stay connected to the internet without clogging up the landline, and browse at very fast speeds. Broadband Internet access is a high data rate Internet access—typically contrasted with dial-up access using a 56k modem. Dial-up modems are limited to a bitrate of less than 56 kbit/s (kilobits per second) and require the full use of a telephone line—whereas broadband technologies supply more than double this rate and generally without disrupting telephone use. Broadband is often called "high-speed" Internet, because it usually has a high rate of data transmission. In general, any connection to the customer of 256 kbit/s (0.256 Mbit/s) or greater is more concisely considered broadband Internet. Broadband can be used at home or in the office. Many companies nowadays rely on a broadband connection to run vital business applications. The introduction of a faster connection has made browsing the internet a very popular past time for those who have access. No more waiting ages for pages to load or songs to download. With ISP's offering amazing download speeds of 100MB and over, it has become an affordable must-have for those who can.
Mobile broadband is the name used to describe various types of wireless high-speed internet access through a portable modem, telephone or other device. Various network standards may be used, such as GPRS or 3G.
Devices that provide mobile broadband include: PC data cards, USB modems, USB sticks, phones with data modems and portable devices with built-in support for Mobile Broadband (like notebooks, netbooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs)). Notebooks with built-in Mobile Broadband Modules are offered by all leading laptop manufacturers in Europe and Asia including: Dell, Lenovo (previously IBM), HP, Fujitsu, Toshiba and Acer.
A group of telecommunication manufacturers, mobile phone producers, chipset manufacturers and notebook manufacturers have joined forces to push built-in support for technology on notebook computers.
Most ISP's offer a service that can be used on laptops that do not already have the wireless feature built in. This is possible by using a dongle that plugs into the usb port and connects via 3G or GPRS. Some ISP's like Orange allow you to use the service abroad too.
Broadband speed is a measure of how fast data moves along phone lines and into your computer. This speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and is usually shortened to 'meg' or "MB".
Speeds faster than 2 meg are only available in some areas, and top speeds can vary quite a lot, especially if you live far from the telephone exchange. If your line won't support the fastest advertised broadband speed, you'll always get the fastest available at the time, and will automatically receive faster internet when the line is capable of receiving a faster speed.
The estimate that ISP's provide you with is an estimate on your Access Line speed. This is different to the actual speed you receive on your PC or laptop, which is known as "throughput speed".
The Access Line speed is the speed your line is capable of from the exchange to your house and is the headline speed you'll see in adverts. Once inside your house your throughput speed can be affected by a number of issues, including the following:
Apart from needing a PC and a Landline, in order to start using a broadband internet connection there are various bits of hardware you will need. Most of the hardware needed is provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), but you may want to confirm with them before you signup on all the hardware they supply. So long as you have the following you should be able to access the Net:
"Can I Use My Broadband On More Than One Computer?" In short, the answer is yes. If you have more than one computer, or for example, you have a laptop and a computer, it is possible to use the broadband connection supplied by your ISP on the numerous machines, at the same time too. You may find that if you're using numerous machines at the same time to connect to the Internet, your speeds may be quite slow as the bandwidth is being shared.
Most routers can support at least two wired connections, i.e network cables leading from the Ethernet ports directly to the router.
In terms of wireless connections, if the router is a wireless enabled router, it will be possible to have multiple wireless connections at the same time to that router. Usually the number of wireless connections a router can accept is greater than the number of wired.
It's also possible to have wired and wireless connections to the same router at the same time. For example, you could have two PC's wired into the router with network cables, and 6 Laptops connecting wirelessly from anywhere else within the wireless routers range. Each machine will all be able to access the internet without the need for multiple routers or broadband packages.
If you're interested in joining multiple machines together on a small home network please check the number of Ethernet ports the router has, and check the maximum number of wireless connections it can accept. If your requirements exceed that of your router you will need to upgrade your hardware to suit a larger network.