It’s always useful to be able to test the speed of your broadband connection, especially if you feel like it is underperforming. The good news is that testing your broadband speed is really easy to do!
Simply click the button labelled ‘Go’. A broadband speed test will be performed and give you a live reading of your current download speed, which you can then compare against the speeds that you should be getting.
The most important result is the download speed. This is the rate at which your device is able to access content from the internet.
So, a high download speed will allow you to load internet pages instantaneously and enjoy online video streaming without buffering. On the other hand, a low download speed will leave you with long load times and pixelated or laggy video streams.
Your upload speed measures the rate at which you are able to add content to the internet or send messages, pictures and videos to others. Upload speeds tend to be a lot slower than download speeds since most of us do much less uploading than downloading. So, don’t worry if your download and upload speeds are vastly different.
Ping, which is measured in milliseconds, indicates how quickly your connection can respond to a request. The lower your ping, the faster your internet connection is at responding to the actions you ask it to take.
Jitter is related to ping, in that it measures how consistent the speed of your ping is. Like the ping, it is measured in milliseconds and the lower your jitter, the more consistent your connection is.
The answer depends on two things: the number of devices that are using the connection and the kinds of tasks you’ll be undertaking on a regular basis.
As a rough guide, a household using one to two devices to browse the web, use social media and stream a moderate amount of video will need speeds that can reach around 25Mbps.
When you increase the number of devices to three or four and you’re looking to do some online gaming or stream video in 4K resolution, you’ll need a connection that can reach 50 to 100Mbps.
If you have more than five devices in constant use in your household and you want to do all of the above, as well as sharing large files on a regular basis and conducting live video streaming, then you’ll need a connection speed somewhere between 150 and 200Mbps.
If you work remotely and need a consistently good connection, or you’re an avid gamer with a next-gen console or PC, a 500Mbs or even a 1Gbs package may be needed. Most suppliers offer great introductory offers for gigabit broadband deals, but just keep in mind that your local area needs to have been set up for fibre broadband connection.
To compare the latest broadband offers from major Irish providers like Eir, Pure Telecom, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone, simply visit our broadband comparison service on bonkers.ie.
Just type in your address or Eircode and you’ll see a list of all the broadband providers available in your area. You will see the monthly price and speed, as well as a breakdown of your yearly savings and other services involved in the offer (ie TV or home phone).
For example, if you signed up for a broadband deal that has been advertised at 100Mbps but when you run a speed test, you’re only getting speeds of 20Mbps. It’s important to remember that 100Mbps refers to the potential top speed offered by the connection and there is no minimum speed guarantee. There are many factors that can affect your speed - time of day, congestion on the network or whether your broadband is fibre, part-fibre or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC).
With FTTC broadband, a network of fibre optic cables runs to your local telephone exchange cabinet, from where data travels through (often old) telephone copper cables for the final few hundred metres or kilometres to your home.
Since copper wires tend to significantly slow down the speed of a connection, FTTC broadband has a maximum speed of 100Mbps, and the speed degrades the further the data has to travel along a copper wire. So, depending on how far your home is from your local cabinet box, the speed you're able to get could be far lower than 100Mbps.
There are a number of things you can do to give your internet connection a boost.