Check the speed of your Internet service

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

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To help readers follow the instructions in this article, we used two different typefaces: Boldface type is used to identify the names of icons, agendas and URLs. Sans serif type shows the names of files and the names of commands and instructions that users should type into the computer.

 

Sometimes my Internet service slows to a crawl, but when I call my service provider I’m told my connection is operating normally and at full speed. Is there some way I can independently check the speed?

There is, and I’ll show you how to do a speed test. But you should be aware that it’s not unusual for Internet service providers (ISPs) to promise higher speeds than users actually experience. The speeds they advertise, first of all, are maximums— levels that often aren’t reached. Sometimes it’s because of unusually heavy traffic. In addition, most ISPs give you faster downloads than uploads. Also some ISPs, as a way to avoid traffic jams, limit how much data a customer can transfer.

But back to speed checks. Ask your service provider if it has a speedometer utility you can download; many do. If not, you can find Web sites that provide free speed-test gadgets or, even more convenient, several will run a free test for you. I ran one, which took about one minute, at www.speakeasy.net/speedtest . The screenshot below shows the results:

 

 

 
 

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