Ask the #Nerdherd: How Fast Is My Internet?

Questions about internet speed have to be up there in the list of most common queries that we get at the Helpdesk, so it seemed like a perfect topic for Ben to address in 'Ask the #Nerdherd'.

Have a watch of this video for more details, or read below for a summary:

So, the first thing to understand is how fast your internet is meant to be running?

  • If you are on a business grade internet connection, such as a 10MB ethernet connection, then there is a hard speed that your internet is supposed to be running at (eg. 10MB) and it should be approximately the same for both uploads and downloads.

Go to Google and type in ''Speed test", and you'll see a screen that looks something like this:

Run the speed test, and it will test both the download speed and upload speed and then spit you out a result, similar to this:

The numbers you get aren't ever going to correspond exactly with the internet plan you're on (eg. 10MB), but they should be pretty close.

  • If you are on an ADSL connection, which many homes and some small businesses are, the A in ADSL stands for “asynchronous” which means the there will be different speeds for uploads vs downloads.

Download speed will be quicker, but usually at a maximum speed of 24MB per second. The upload speed generally won't go over 1MB per second.

However, with ADSL, it rarely actually goes this fast, and no service provider is going to guarantee these speeds as there are many variables when it comes to ADSL speeds.

As per the business grade connection above, open Google in an internet browser and type in ''Speed test" and see what speeds you're achieving.

What happens when you run the test and speeds are much slower than they should be?

The first thing to try is to power cycle the router/modem.

(Before you do this, just remember that you are going to take your entire business network offline for about 5 minutes.)

Turn the router off, wait 10 seconds and turn it back on again. Then just wait a bit to let everything reconnect to the internet.

Go to Google and run the speed test again. If the speeds are still slow, the next thing to try is an Isolation test.

Turn off every single device that’s connected to the internet (including the wifi), and just have one single computer or laptop connected. Other devices may be using up the bandwidth and we’re not aware.

Run the speed test again.

As the next step in testing internet speeds and resolving the problem, you may need to look at replacing the router or modem.

This might be a bit more complicated, as you may not have a spare router or know how to configure it.

If you need some extra guidance, call your IT helpdesk or internet service provider (ISP) for further help. Your ISP may also be able to run some line tests, but they will want you to have run through the above checks first before they proceed so it's good to get them all out of the way before you make the call.

Hopefully this gives you a few handy tips to try the next time you're feeling frustrated with your internet speeds.

Picture of Annie Love

Annie has worn many hats over her career, from being a Systems Administrator at Servcorp, to working in advertising for Vogue magazines and managing conferences on Hayman Island. These days, as well as being the Mum of three gorgeous boys, Annie takes care of the marketing at Grassroots IT. She has a passion for creativity, and loves to read, paint and spend time with her family and friends.

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