Speed Test

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What is upload speed?

Upload speed is the rate at which data (like pictures, music and videos) is uploaded from a host computer to a remote network server (i.e. e-mail, social networking sites, etc.). Internet services providers (ISPs) generally offer much slower upload speeds than download speeds; however, some people may require services that put a premium on upload speeds. Upload speeds become important for people who do things such as run home businesses that need to exchange a large number of files with remote servers or gamers who play online. It is important to note that factors such as distance from a telephone exchange, household wiring and the number of devices accessing the network at any given time can impact a user's upload speed.

Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mb or Mbps). This should not be confused with megabytes (MB) a unit commonly used to describe file sizes. To put it in perspective 1MB (megabyte) is equal to 8Mb (megabits). This means if your upload speed is 8Mb you are actually transferring 1MB of data per second.

What is download speed?

Like upload speed, download speed deals with the transfer of data. Specifically, download speed is how fast data is sent from a remote network server to a user's computer. This includes websites, music, documents and just about anything else you might access online. Because most people spend significantly more time downloading data than uploading it, ISPs usually give priority to download speed. Many consumers are offered package that may be advertised as 15/5 (often called fifteen over five) or 50/25. The first number referring to download speed and the second to upload speed. This means that a consumer with 50/25 services would have 50Mbps of download speed and 25Mbps of upload speed under optimal network conditions. The following chart from about.com describes different technologies and their associated speeds:

Broadband Technology Download Speed Range Connection
Dial-up Up to 56kbps Phone Line
DSL 768 Kbps - 6 Mbps Phone Line
Satellite 400 Kbps - 2 Mbps Wireless Satellite
3G 50 Kbps - 1.5 Mbps Wireless
Cable Modem 4 Kbps - 25 Mbps Coaxial Cable
WiMax up to 128 Mbps Wireless
FiOS up to 150 Mbps Fiber
LTE up to 1 Gbps for mobile users Wireless

What is ping?

A ping test is a way to determine whether a computer can communicate with another computer over a network. Once network communication is established, a ping test can be used to determine the latency (delay) of the connection. Latency is an especially important concept in applications such as VoIP and internet gaming. In instances such as these, a high degree of latency (also sometimes referred to as lag) can make services difficult to use. With good connectivity, users can expect returns of less than 30ms.