How to Understand a Bandwidth Test

A bandwidth test is a great way to generally understand how fast your home internet is. When you run a home bandwidth test, the web page that you’re running it from will request some information from the internet connection. From there, it’s able to recognize how fast your internet speed is, as well as a number of other factors, which can help it understand your internet access as a whole. Here are five things to think about when interpreting a bandwidth test.

Download and Upload

The download speed is basically what it sounds like – how quickly your internet allows you to download things. Download speeds are essentially always much quicker than upload speeds; receiving information from the internet is going to be easier than trying to put that information up into the internet. Download speeds are what internet access is usually advertised as.

The upload speed, on the other hand, is how quickly your internet allows you to upload things. If you spend a lot of time browsing the internet, you use your download speed significantly more than you use your upload speed, as the upload speed only has to do with sending content elsewhere.

Ping and Jitter

Whereas download and upload have to do with how you download and upload information from the internet, ping and jitter have much more to do with the quality of your internet connection. The ping measurement indicates how quickly you can request data, then receive the data you requested; the jitter measurement indicates variation in the response time.

Ideally, most people are looking for ping and jitter to be as low as possible, whereas most people are also looking for download and upload speed to be as fast as possible. When you run a bandwidth test, you can check these measurements to see how quick and responsive your internet is.

Other Factors and Limitations

When you run a bandwidth test, it’s important to remember that this test is just a little tiny snippet of the way your internet is functioning right now. Depending on network traffic, congestion, time of day, day of the week, and more, you can see a variety of changes and shifts in how fast and responsive your internet is on average. Bandwidth tests are meant to give you a little screenshot of understanding, not to diagnose your internet’s problems.


If you want an idea of what your bandwidth is like, it’s a good idea to run a bandwidth test, just to see. Additionally, if you want that information for a specific end result, it’s a good idea to run a bandwidth test that includes a calculator that can help you convert the numbers into an understandable end result, like how many gigabytes you might be able to upload or download in a day. This can make the variety of numbers make a little more sense to your brain, as “Mbit/s” isn’t a measurement that most people use in their day-to-day lives.

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