Speed determining factors

How do I run an internet speed test?

If you do an internet speed test, you measure how many bits you can download per second.

Know what you are measuring

It is important to realize that your testing situation will not affect the download speed as provided by your ISP. Your test situation only determines what download speed you measure.

Factors that can influence your measurement are often only theoretical. Something that is a factor in one situation may not be a factor in another.

For example, in the test situation I used, there is no significant difference between a wired laptop or a laptop with WiFi. The only thing I can conclude is that my wifi is suitable for my internet subscription.

Hence the only thing I can do is categorise the potential factors in the following categories:

  1. Probably little or no influence
  2. Potentially a lot of influence
  3. It depends on your situation
 

Ideal test conditions

A wired computer is believed to be best for an Internet speed test. This computer must be the only device connected to the router.

For this test the following configuration is used:

  1. Dual boot desktop computer
    1. Intel® Core™ i5 CPU 661 @ 3.33Ghz x 4
    2. 3.6Gib memory
    3. 320.1GB disk capacity
  2. Windows 10 Home version 2004, build 19041.508
  3. Google Chrome 85.0.4183.121 (64-bits) with a cleared cache and 1 open tab

In these circumstances the SpeedOfMe is used.

Note that when you want to discuss your download speed with your ISP, it is best to use the speedtest suggested by your ISP.

Probably little or no influence

  1. Browser used
  2. Operating system used
  3. Other active programs
  4. Test server used
  5. DNS server used
  6. Video streaming

Potentially a lot of influence

  1. Use of TOR
  2. Large downloads

It depends on your situation

  1. VPN
  2. Hardware used (Computer, Wi-Fi router, Powerline)
  3. Malware
  4. Router Location
  5. Time of the day
  6. Other devices or users

Explanatory screenshots

Ideal test conditions

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test results in ideal conditions In this case SpeedOf.me downloaded 6 files. The flat line at the top indicates the max download speed you have. Note that there is a small dip, the assumption is that a background process downloaded some data. More important, the end-result is lower than the flat line. So I think it is better to consider the max. download speed (here 56.19Mbps) as the real download speed instead of the final download speed (here 54.68Mbps).

Browser used

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test results when using Firefox Using Firefox instead of Google Chrome has little or no influence. Again, the flat line at the top indicates the max download speed you have. The max. download speed is similar to the result of the above test.

Operating system used

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test results when using Firefox at Ubuntu Using Firefox while running Ubuntu instead of Windows has little or no influence. Again, the flat line at the top indicates the max download speed you have. The max. download speed is similar to the result of the above tests.

Other active programs

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test while there are 15 open programs With 15 open programs, the result is almost the same as the result of the test in the ideal test conditions. A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test while OpenSCAD is rendering a 3D model When a lot of calculations are required, in this case because OpenSCAD renders a 3D model, it is not possible for SpeedOf.me to measure the previous max. download speeds.

DNS server used

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test results when using DNS 8.8.8.8 The use of a specific DNS doesn't influence the results of the speedtest.

Videostreaming

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test while watching Netflix While watching Blood Diamond on Netflix, there is a drop in the speed when SpeedOf.me downloads the penultimate testfile. The end result is almost the same as in the ideal test condition. A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test while watching YouTube Watching Mr. Bean in the department store at YouTube gives a small drop when SpeedOf.me downloads the last testfile. Again, the max. download speed is the same as in the ideal test condition.

Large downloads

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test results when downloading a large file It is clear that the download of a large file does influence the speed test results dramatically.

VPN

A screenshot of the SpeedOf.me test results when using the Hola VPN The use of the Hola VPN hasn't that much influence on the SpeedOf.me test result. However in an earlier test is was concluded that another VPN will give much lower results. Hence the VPN you use might influence your test results.

Earlier findings

In the first test regarding speed determing factors it was concluded that the test server used has probably little or no influence.

Another conclusion based on this test is that the use of TOR has a lot of influence.