Interpreting Speed Test Results

OK, so now you have some numbers and assessments from the Speed Test. Here are the basics of how your internet connection speed was tested and what the download/upload numbers mean.

Connection Speed

Connection speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

Download speed

The number provided here represents the number of Mbps your connection is allowing to travel from a website to your network. When it comes to reading, playing games, viewing video and listening to streaming music on the web, this is the key number. The download speed is the number that your Internet service provider (ISP) uses to differentiate their different plans.
If your ISP is doing a good job, the download speed you get from speed test will be close to the one your service provider associated with your plan.

Upload speed

The number provided here is the number of Mbps your connection allows you to send from your computer to a website. Because so much online activity is interactive, your upload speed is important because it will determine how well you can work with web-based applications. ISPs don’t pay as much attention to upload speeds in their marketing, but you should be able to find the expected performance noted somewhere on their website. As with your download speed, your upload speed should be close to the speed your service provider associated with your plan.

What speed should I have?

If the Speedtest shows your connection is working as your ISP says it should, but you’re still not happy with your computer’s performance, you have some options:

  • Check your home network to make sure it is operating properly. We have a Tech Tip that will help with this.
  • Your computer may need a little a little work. We have a 2 Minute Miracle video on our YouTube channel that will show you how to clean it up a bit.
  • You may need to upgrade your Internet service plan. To know what to expect by connection speed, see our below.

Download Speeds

1-4 Mbps
Generally, this is the lowest level of service available in most areas. Email and most website will load fine, and most music streaming services will work without interruption. Internet phone services (VOIP) should have no trouble. But Standard Definition (SD) videos will buffer on occasion.

4-6 Mbps
According to the Federal Communications Commission, this is the minimum speed “generally required for using today’s video-rich broadband applications and services.” Users at this speed should not have any trouble with streaming audio or video. Service at this speed will allow some file sharing and should work fine for streaming Internet TV (IP TV).

6-10 Mbps
For online gamers and heavy video-on-demand, this is the preferred speed. This speed delivers uninterrupted online gaming and smooth on-demand video as long as only one device is using a high bandwidth service.

10-15 Mbps
Users at this speed say they do notice the increase in speed. Websites drop right into the browser, and your interaction with web-based applications and cloud services will be much quicker. Will help you interact with more complex online applications like remote education services, telemedicine, and high definition Internet TV.

15-50 Mbps
If you have a number of devices connected to your network and want to use them at the same time without delays, this may be the speed for you. With the explosion of electronic products that can be connected to the Internet, keeping them all working at peak performance is going to be an increasing challenge. Multiple simultaneous connections will require this level of service.

50+ Mbps
Speed like this is not usually seen feeding home networks. The main reasons for such blazing download speed are commercial – video conferencing, real-time data collection and powerful remote computing. But again, with the explosion of web-enabled devices in homes, speed like this may someday become the new normal. Remember, we used to access the Internet with dial-up modems.