Experiencing continuous buffering while streaming videos or facing slow internet speed when downloading large data files? You must first perform an online speed test to check the speed of internet of your internet upload and download speed. Compare its results with your plan’s advertised speeds to see if the connection is slow and the possible causes behind it.
By understanding the different parameters of your speed test result, you can follow various troubleshooting methods to increase internet speed. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry; this guide will help you out.
Things to Take Care in Mind before Taking a Speed Test
Before performing an online speed test, here are a few things to keep in mind to get more accurate results:
- Ensure no large files are downloaded or uploaded on your system while running a speed test.
- Close any bandwidth-consuming apps running in the background on devices before taking a speed test.
- Connect your device with the router using the Ethernet cable (if possible) during a speed test to get more accurate readings
- Take a speed test several times a day on the same device to compare results and suspect a problem.
- Use as low bandwidth as possible when running a speed test.
- Ensure no other devices on the same home network utilize the large chunk of internet bandwidth through activities like HD streaming, gaming, torrenting, etc.
How to take a Speed Test Online?
If you suspect your ISP is throttling the internet or not offering enough speed for your Cable, DSL, Dial-up or Fiber connection as advertised speed, use the following steps to take a speed test online:
- Connect your device (PC or Laptop) with a router through an ethernet cable or use a WiFi option if a wired connection is not possible.
- Open speedtest.net on your device or use any reliable online speed test tool.
- Tap the “Go” button (or follow on-screen instructions) to run the speed test.
- Save the results and perform it again several times a day on the same device to compare results.
If the speed is low at a particular time but not throughout the day, the reason can be network congestion (during peak hours) or bandwidth throttling due to excessive internet usage than your data limits. However, if it is slower than your advertised speed for the whole day, there must be some hardware or network provider issue. Contact your ISP to improve your connection speed.
Understanding Speed Test Parameters
To interpret speed test results, there are three crucial parameters you need to understand and what they reflect in different scenarios:
- Download Speed: It is the most crucial metric as it determines how quickly your files can download on multiple devices or what quality you will get during video streaming and online gaming. The higher the download speed, the faster downloads you will experience.
- Upload Speed: It determines how quickly you can send data to another server or online location. Better upload speed is crucial for video calls, sending emails with attachments, uploading pictures/videos or other content on social media, etc. The upload speed is usually around 1/10th of the download speed. It means for a 200 Mbps download speed plan; the upload speed can be around 15-20 Mbps.
- Latency/Ping: Latency or Ping is a crucial metric for online gaming and streaming. It represents the time taken by the signal from your device to the ISP and returns. The lower the latency, the faster the signal response. For lag-free online gaming and live streaming, the Ping or Latency rate must be less than 20ms. If it is beyond 150ms, you can experience jitter or lag.
Now, based on these three parameters, interpret the speed test results and try the following troubleshooting ways to increase internet speed:
- If both upload and download speeds are in the normal range of what you are paying for, still you feel the connection is slower, there can be some issue with the router. Restart it, change its location or upgrade its firmware to get better speed.
- If the upload speed is normal, but the download speed is lower than the advertised speed, you need to check your data usage. In case of excessive data usage, ISP throttles the internet to slow down download speed, so you don’t consume data beyond your daily limit. Disconnect unwanted devices, clear background apps and manage data usage for better speed.
- If the upload speed is lower than normal but the download speed is normal, there may be multiple devices consuming bandwidth for video calls, emails or social media. Upgrade your plan to a higher limit or reduce the number of connected devices.
- If you have DSL internet, the lower download speed than the advertised plan is normal and can be due to more distance between ISP and your location.
- If you are using cable internet and the download speed is less than the normal plan’s speed, it can be due to network congestion during peak hours from neighboring homes in your area. Schedule downloads for non-peak hours in such a scenario.
- If latency or Ping is above 150 ms, upgrade your router or use an ethernet cable. If you use a DSL or cable internet, upgrade to Fiber to get better speed and low latency.
- If both upload and download speeds are consistently lower than the normal plan’s speed, ask your ISP for local outages or network issues. If the problem persists, move to another ISP offering better services with no throttling or data limits.
Recommended Internet Speed for Specific Streaming Platforms:
Thinking whether Netflix will stream lag-free on your current internet speed or not? For various streaming platforms, there are different recommended internet connection speeds that you can check before enjoying your favorite content online:
- Netflix: As per Netflix’s Internet speed recommendations, a minimum of 5 Mbps speed is required per device for HD streaming and 15 Mbps for 4k streaming. For standard (720p) streaming, 3 Mbps speed is the minimum. To check the internet speed test of your current Netflix speed, you can use Fast.com
- Amazon Prime Video: For UHD or 4K streaming, 15 Mbps speed is a minimum requirement, while for glitch-free HD streaming, 10 Mbps is enough.
- Hulu: For 4K streaming on Hulu, 16 Mbps is ideal, while for live streams, 8 Mbps is good. To stream the Hulu library, 3 Mbps speed is good.
- Apple TV: There is no built-in internet speed test available for Apple TV, but it recommends a 25 Mbps speed for 4k streaming. Users can visit the Apple Playback Troubleshooting page when facing issues in streaming.
- Disney+ Hotstar: A minimum of 5 Mbps is suggested for HD streaming, while 25 Mbps is good for streaming 4k UHD content.
- Vudu: To stream content in SD quality, 1-2 Mbps speed is required, 4-9 Mbps for HD content and 11 Mbps or more for UHD content.
- HBO: The platform recommends third-party speed test tools to check my internet speed. A minimum of 5 Mbps is required for buffer-free streaming, while 50+ Mbps is recommended for 4K streaming.
Frequently Asked Questions
To check the internet speed on the iPhone, close all the background apps first. Now either open Speedtest.net in the Safari browser or download the app Internet speed test Speedcheck to perform the speed test.
To run an internet speed test at home on all devices, ensure no auto updates or downloads are occurring on any device, clear background apps and use an ethernet wire for a laptop or PC. Then use online speed test tools like Ookla, Fast.com, etc., to check the connection’s current speed and compare it with the plan’s advertised speed.
It depends upon various use cases and the number of devices you wish to connect. For a single device, 1-5 Mbps speed is suitable for emailing, 15-25 Mbps for streaming and 50 Mbps for playing online games and streaming 4k content simultaneously.
To increase internet speed, disconnect unwanted devices, clear the browser’s cookies & cache, disable background apps data, download one file at a time, upgrade the router’s firmware or change its location. If nothing works, upgrade your data plan.
If your connection is slow after taking a speed test, restart the WiFi router. Manage your data usage by restricting unwanted devices from connecting to the network. If you think you are using more data than your current plan, upgrade your plan or switch to another ISP.