How fast is your internet connection? And, how do you know? Most of us, whether DSL or cable TV internet subscribers, or those who only use cell phone data connections, pay for a certain amount of bandwidth.
Here’s the problem. Bandwidth is often a variable, and the amount available to your devices is constantly changing. Here’s a quick look at two ways to check your Mac’s internet connection speed, up and down, and why it doesn’t really matter too much.
Speedy And Free
First up today is a free utility called Speedy, which connects to servers on the internet and performs both upload and download speed tests. From the test server. And that’s only one caveat to determining internet connection speed.
Speedy is colorful, attractive, and probably displays an accurate reflection of your upload and download speed– relative to a whole bunch of infringing factors, not including the speed you think you’re paying to get.
Speedy is simple to use. Open it and click Start.
Speedy will attempt to determine the best server to provide an accurate test (that may take awhile, depending upon your location). I’m paying for up to 100 mbps down and 10 mbps up but the best Speedy could do was 20 mbps down and 6.8 megabits up.
The second free way to test your internet connection speed is with SpeedTest in a browser running Flash. On that test my download was 107 mbps and upload was clocked at 10.6 mbps.
Why the disparity?
That’s because an internet connection’s speed is relative to a number of factors; distance of your Mac from the test server, total bandwidth available at the moment, internet congestion between your Mac and the test server, and more variables too numerous to mention.
Unlike Speedy, SpeedTest lets you adjust your test server location, too. Getting a test server that’s close to your location and with fewer so-called hops in between can provide for a more accurate display of bandwidth in the test. Speedy is easier to setup and use than SpeedTest, and doesn’t come with an array of ads daring you to miss a click, but in every test I made the results were not the same as SpeedTest (and whatever you do, do not accidentally type in http://www.speedtest.com/ (.com vs. .net) while using Safari.