Most people don’t stop to think about their internet speeds. They log on to their phone or computer, access the site or app they need, and log off. If the device is working and they’re able to get what they need, they’ll often move on without a second thought. If you’re not regularly checking your internet speed, you may be missing out on some crucial information.
Even if your internet is working, meaning you’re able to successfully connect to a website or web-based application, it may not be working correctly. A simple speed test can reveal a lot about your current internet service. While you may not be able to notice the difference between 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and 400 Mbps when you’re doing day to day browsing, when you hit a big download, you’re definitely going to notice.
Taking a minute or two out of your day once every few weeks can help you keep tabs on your internet service provider at work or in your home. Here’s why you should consistently check your internet speed.
Hold Your Internet Service Provider Accountable
First and foremost, if you’re paying for a certain speed and you’re not consistently getting close to that speed throughout your tests, you can contact your internet service provider for a remedy. For example, if you pay for an internet service package that has speeds up to 100 Mbps (the key phrase is “up to”) and you’re getting 25 Mbps on average over the course of several weeks, you’re really not getting what you’re paying for.
In fact, there was a recent lawsuit in which Charter paid out almost $200 million due to not delivering on promised internet speeds that customers were paying for. By performing multiple speed tests over a set period of time, you can begin to collect meaningful, insightful data to present to your internet service provider.
Check out a recent speed test series that we did with Google Fiber to see just how much information you can get from running a speed test.
Identify Potential Device Issues
A speed test can actually reveal issues with your device or devices. For example, if you have five devices, and four out of five are reporting a speed that’s around what you expect with your internet service package, but your fifth device is reporting a speed that’s less than half of what the others are reporting on the same connection, the problem is more than likely the device itself.
There are multiple factors that could be impacting the speed in our scenario. If the device is outdated and the internal WiFi radio is outdated, it may not allow for modern-day internet speed connections. That’s often the case with older devices, and a simple upgrade is all you need to do to fix the problem.
There are other, more severe problems that can also significantly impact your connection speed. Viruses and malware can not only slow down your device, but your internet connection speed as well. If your device has been hacked, the hacker may be piggybacking your connection to run bandwidth-heavy protocols. While your first conclusion may be that you’re simply not getting what you’re paying for, a slow internet connection may be a sign of something else.
Speed Tests Are Quick and Simple
This can often sound complex to those that are not tech-savvy, but the truth is that a speed test doesn’t take long at all and requires virtually no technical skills. When you run an internet speed test, your device will communicate with the speed test server.
Information will be passed from the speed test server to your device, and the server will measure how fast your device downloads and receives that data. There isn’t a physical file that is downloaded to your device, but your device mimics a download so the server can measure the speed.
Depending on your internet connection speed, the entire test (both download speeds and upload speeds), shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.
Check If Your WiFi Reaches Your Entire Home or Business
You can also use a thorough speed test to see if there are gaps in your home or business’ WiFi coverage. Larger homes and commercial buildings often require WiFi repeaters to boost the signal throughout the space. By testing your internet speed in all of the rooms in your home or business, you can quickly identify any coverage issues and resolve the issue with a simple WiFi repeater.
Checking your internet speed on a regular basis is extremely important, and fortunately, it’s also extremely simple. From coverage checks to potentially identifying serious issues, taking just a few minutes out of your day can do a lot of good for your home or business internet connection.
Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org She loves to write latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.