Do you know how fast or slow your internet speed is? If you’ve found it takes a long time to download a file on your computer or a film on your smart TV, or it’s taking an age to get certain tasks done on your laptop or mobile device, a lack of internet speed could be the reason.
If you run your business or are working from home, how quickly your internet works can be a crucial aspect. Internet service providers sell their packages based on the speed of the service they will provide; hence the term super-broadband. So, how do you test your internet speed and why should you use Chrome’s speed test?
Why does your internet speed matter?
The speed of your internet service dictates how fast or slow information and data is transferred online during a single connection. This will impact what you can and can’t do online; for example, it may significantly slow down video streaming, playing video games, downloading and uploading files and transferring images. On the other hand, if you have a particularly fast internet speed that is above your requirements, you could be paying more than necessary for your internet service.
So, before you consider which internet service provider to choose or how much internet speed you need, the first thing to do is work out your internet usage level. For example:
- Playing video games – offline, online and sharing large files.
- Downloading and uploading files.
- Working from home.
- Video and music streaming.
- Social media activity.
- Reading online content.
- Video conferencing and video calls.
There are five standard types of internet connection – dial-up – which is the slowest – satellite, DLS, cable and lastly fibre, which is the quickest. Your internet speed is broken down into two elements – download speed and upload speed – and the two numbers on your internet speed test denote these.
Generally, your download speed is faster than your upload speed; this is the larger figure you will see when you test your internet speed. Some of your online activities will require a more powerful download speed than others, such as video and music streaming, playing video games online and video conferencing or calls.
Bandwidth vs internet speed
The terms bandwidth and internet speed are often used interchangeably but actually mean two different things. Bandwidth is the capacity of your internet connection. For example, if your internet service has a bandwidth of 5 Mbps, it is the maximum speed it can operate when at full capacity; in most cases, your internet service doesn’t run at full capacity. Internet speed refers to how fast any information or data is transferred to your device, computer, game console or TV.
There are a number of factors that can reduce the speed of your internet and stop it working at its maximum capacity, including:
- The number of people, or devices, being used via the internet at any one time.
- The number of people, or devices, being used on the internet externally during ‘rush hour’ (between 7pm and 11pm).
- The distance between your internet router and your device/computer/game console/TV.
- Your router is being impacted by other devices.
- Wi-Fi is activated on multiple devices, putting a strain on the internet service and router.
- Your router is older than your upgraded internet speed and may need updating.
Why test the speed of your internet using Chrome?
Google’s Chrome is the most-used browser worldwide with more than 3.2 billion users, suggesting that it now commands over half of the market share globally. One reason for this is the features that Chrome can offer, including their Speed Test By OpenSpeedTest™ which is a Chrome browser extension.
The tool allows users to quickly test their internet speed via the extension which, once downloaded, sits in the browser toolbar. Therefore, you don’t need to open a new window or tab to run a speed test – just click on the OpenSpeedTest™ icon in the Chrome toolbar to activate the speed test no matter what website you are viewing at the time.
The speed test’s algorithm is able to automatically detect your internet connection speed by running file download and upload requests via your web browser. Google’s new algorithm is able to choose the best server, run the speed test and deliver highly accurate internet speed test results. Its features include:
- Testing up to 1 Gbps+ connection, i.e. a super-fast server.
- You don’t need Java or Flash to run the speed test.
- Latest HTML5 technology.
- Quick and easy to run a speed test, without interrupting your work.
- Testing your internet speed on all five internet connections.
- Speed tests can be run on any device, including mobile devices, in any location, such as iPad, iPhone, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Smart TV, Mac, Windows and Linux.
- No need to open a new window, tab or download an app on a mobile device.
- Can be used on any web browser.
- Replicates your real time connection speed and delivers accurate results.
Once you’ve tested your internet speed using Google’s Chrome speed test icon, and calculated your level of internet usage – allow for 25 Mbps for each person of your household but if you’re working from home, allow at least 50 Mbps – you’ll know just how fast your internet connection is and whether it is working at its full capacity.
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