Broadband speed tests
Does your broadband connection feel more like a sluggish dial-up link? Put it to the test by recording your connection speed every 30 minutes or so for a couple of days. Keep a log, and if the speed is nowhere near advertised rates, send the results to your ISP - and raise a ruckus.
If you complain vigorously yet politely, chances are good that the provider will have you back at full speed ahead in short order. With all of the following tests, resist the temptation to check email or browse the web while testing, so as not to alter the results.
Quick tip: If any of these online tests don't work, make sure you have the current version of Flash Player; if not, download and install it.
The granddaddy of online testing, DSLReports gives you a stack of tests to try. The Speed Test has a cool car-dashboard-like interface that watches your upload and download speeds. You can test your speed by using any of six servers in different locations. You'll obtain a good average by testing with two; try one close to home and another across the country.
If you're worried about your connection while gaming, use the site's Line Quality test to look for packet loss and excessive latency. Make sure to register and log in when testing - that way you can compare results months apart.
You'll see pretty much the same results from broadband speed testing at Speedtest.net. But this site is quicker to get to than DSLReports, and it has an oh-so-nifty interface, the kind you want to show off when friends are in your office.
In addition to running overall speed tests, you can use other tools and tricks to improve your online experience.
PC Advisor speed test
We couldn't resist giving our own Broadband Speed Test a mention. Our independent speed checker is simple and easy to use. And you don't even have to navigate away from our site.
VoIP Speed Test
If you're making phone calls over the internet, make sure you have the bandwidth - as well as the quality of service - to get decent VoIP sound, using the VoIP Speed Test.
The bandwidth analysis tells you the percentage of VoIP service quality to expect from your connection, as well as the number of concurrent VoIP lines your connection can support.
Down for Everyone or Just Me
You head for a website, but you get an error. I know you've said it: 'Is the site down, or is it my problem?'.
Now there's a way to find out. Type a website's URL into Down for Everyone or Just Me? (a smartly named site, no?), and it will give you the scoop. Very handy - using it keeps you from bothering coworkers or members of your buddy list.
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