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Check Your Bandwidth

First, grab a pen and a pad of paper because you'll want to record the results of this test.

Below is a box with the logo and a button in the middle that says "GO" Go ahead and click the button and watch what happens.

Under the box you'll get the results. Jot them down. They'll be something like this:

    Last Result:
    Download Speed: 5563 kbps (695.4 KB/sec transfer rate)
    Upload Speed: 5498 kbps (687.3 KB/sec transfer rate)
    Latency: 14 ms
    Wed Aug 14 10:26:29 2013

Wait a few minutes and run the test again. Run the test a few times more later in the day, a few hours apart, to get an idea of the average readouts.

What does this test tell you?

You tested your Internet connection to get a general idea of your broadband capacity and speed. To be specific, the readouts you receive are for download speed, upload speed and latency.

    Download speed: This is how efficiently music, photos and videos, or information goes from a website or other sources on the Internet to your computer.

    Upload speed: This is the opposite. This tells you how efficiently pictures or files transfer from your computer to another site, such as uploading a photo to a social network.

    Latency: Also known as the ping rate, this number corresponds to delay time on the Internet measured in milliseconds. The higher the number, the more delays you experience and may sense while you're online.

    If you play online games, especially first-person shooting or driving games, then you want the latency to be less than 30ms. For the rest of us, anything under 100ms would be good enough.

Speed matters, but...

There are several factors that can affect your Internet connection speed at any given time, other than what type of connection you have, such as cable or DSL.

If several people in one house are online at the same time, playing games and streaming music or videos, the Internet connection could be slower. Also, the age of your computer or modem could be a factor, because the technology is constantly improving.

Still, if you're not happy with the typical speed (or slowness) of your Internet connection, talk to your service provider and see what they suggest. Be sure to get their suggestions about improving your speed without a service upgrade.

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