How Do Internet Speed Tests Work? What Causes Different Results?

understanding internet speed, understanding internet speed tests, illustration of computer screen with speed gauge

In an era when more people are distance learning and working remotely, we're all feeling the need, the need for better internet speed. While today's consumers need fast and reliable connections with an internet service provider (ISP) what's the deal with speed tests? What exactly are they? How do they work? What are they measuring? Why do they sometimes deliver different results?

Testing Internet Speeds and Understanding the Results

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of speed testing and their and results, let's test yours. From the Buckeye Broadband home page, choose Support from the top navigation bar. Then click on Test Your Speed, and then GO. After a quick scan of your system, results are revealed in less than a minute. You don't even need to be a customer to check your speeds. For those who are already signed up for our services, users are also able to examine their data usage. Metrics, measurements, and results are revealed as follows: 

  • Ping (ms) — Measured in milliseconds (ms), ping is also known as latency or the reaction time of your online connection. It reveals how quickly your device gets a response after a signal is sent. This is important for applications when the timing is essential, like playing video games and this number should be lower rather than higher. 
  • Jitter (also measured in ms) — Jitter frequency, also referred to as Packet Delay Variation (PDV), it's a measure of the variations of ping over time. Similar to ping, a higher jitter rate can result in buffering delays and other interruptions. This could be problematic when holding or attending online video conferencing and on other platforms like gaming.
  • Download Speed (Mbps) — As almost everyone knows, download times are a result of how quickly users will retrieve data from the internet when downloading this information available online. 
  • Upload Speed (also gauged in Mbps) — Conversely, upload is the opposite factor being how fast your device will deliver your content to others online.

FYI: Download times are almost always much faster and better than upload times, unless you have symmetrical speeds with Fiber Internet. Don't be alarmed by these results. Also, for those unaware, Mbps megabits (one million bits of information) per second is a standard measurement of internet speed and should not be confused with megabytes (MB) which deals with size rather than bandwidth. 

What Impacts Internet Speed Test Results?

The speed you pay for may appear to differ from the speed you see on your Internet speed test, and this is normal. While you are still getting the speed you pay for, the results that appear are impacted by the number of devices you have online. 

With multiple devices in the home, whether it's for streaming, online gaming, or working from home, this means multiple devices are fighting for online time and speed. If someone is playing on a gaming system while you are doing a speed test on your phone, that device is taking up some of your bandwidth, so the test shows that you are not getting your full speed.

With this in mind, it's more important than ever to ensure there's plenty of bandwidth, speed, connectivity, uninterrupted time, and space available for users at home and for SMB's (aka small-to-medium-sized businesses).

Getting Questions Answered

Is your Internet speed fast enough? Do lengthy buffering times, dropped connections, service interruptions, and other problems stress you out? Are other hassles with your online connection (or lack thereof) driving your crazy? What are my choices for better service? We're here with sane and affordable options to make these problems disappear with much better performances compared to competitors. 

Do you still have questions about Buckeye Broadband as your ISP and other available options? No problem. Feel free to contact us today at any one of our many locations. We are here for you whether you'd like to call and speak directly with our friendly, local service representatives during regular business hours, or reach out to our Brainiac Staff available online.

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