How Can I Measure My Intenet Speed/Connection?

I have a cable connection to the Internet and am a bit dubious as to the speed of my connection with regards to what they claim I am getting.

How can I accurately measure my connection speed, so when I call the techies at Cox Cable, I have some stats to back up my claim that the connection isn’t as fast as they are claiming it is? Or perhaps I will find out I am wrong and am indeed getting that speed of connection - either way, would like to find out.

Some of the better online tests are here:

Good luck complaining, however. Most internet companies have caveats that reported speeds are just rough estimates and your speed will vary for a variety of reasons and stipulations.

Not the least of which is TimeWarner’s favorite, “sucks to be you.”

I use Cool Beans.

Monitors CPU, RAM, swapfile, network download and upload rates in real time.


And BrandonR thanks for that link! Went to world-wide directory and found a good USA bandwidth tester for both uploads and downloads. Now I just need to get the exact info of what Cox Cable is promising and have something to start discussion.

Can an ISP tell you’re running a speed test?

Some ads have been running around that talk about some sort of speed boost technology or some such rigmarole (hard to catch details with a DVR). I think its function is to tell when you’re streaming a movie or something and boost your speed.

I also remember something of a kerfuffle when cable providers were caught (?) giving preferential treatment to certain types of traffic from their customers – slowing down or dropping torrent packets or something like that.

If an ISP can detect the type of traffic (or even have a white list of bandwidth-testing sites), could they adjust your bandwidth on the fly to make it seem like a customer is getting a different speed than they usually are?

I sometimes usethe performance page at to measure my speed. This actually allows you to see the file downloading, as well as a nice graphical and comparative display of the results. It also gives you a choice of several host servers to download from.

The trouble is, I have found that results vary wildly, not only at different times but also from host to host. On the whole it appears that hosts geographically closer to me give faster downloads, but not always. My impression is that, past a certain point (obviously a phone line modem is not going to be as good as broadband), actual download speed depends much more on the condition of the host server you are downloading from, and on the levels of internet traffic in between, than it does on the raw bandwidth of your connection to your ISP.

I use Speakeasy:

Right now 32.8 Mbps down and 6.69 Mbps up (from Comcast Business line to my house) out of the Chicago server.

As a comparison only 11.5 Mbps down from the Toastnet server which is in CA.

Are they really claiming that you get a specific speed? All of the ISPs I’ve dealt with will sell you a package with a nominal speed but they make no guarantees that you’ll achieve it.

Netmeter helps you monitor your download speed.

If I’m not mistaken, your cable connection is shared with other households (unlike DSL), hence during high demand times your speeds may be considerably slower. Try comparing 3 in the morning to say 6PM and see if there is much of a difference. There certainly is on my COCKS cable.

Yes they can

Yes a lot of ISPs throttle bittorrent or other P2P programs. This is why clients offer protocal encryption. Of course using this often involves a trade off. Either your computer uses greater resources or by using this encryption you can connect to less peers, thus slowing speed.

In theory they could but it’s not likely they’d go to all that trouble.

If they’re gonna stop your P2P they can do things like block ports which is a lot easier.

Usually when an ISP offers speed, they only care about a minimum. For example I have AT&T and I have DSL that offers a maximum of 6.0. But the next lower tier is 3.0

So my contract reads speeds UP TO 6.0. So as long as I get more than 3.0 they are covered. In fact my speed tests read about 5.1.

But as long as I get more than 3.0 AT&T’s obligation is being met.