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Speedtests - how acurate are they?

Discussion in 'Networks' started by wagnerk, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Hi guy's/gal's,

    Got a question for you. Say you're the IT manager at a school (or any organisation really), you pay £12,500 pa for a 10 meg internet connection (apparently both ways). I ran a speed test online from Prometric (yep the guys that do the MS tests), and the following is the overview of our connection at 20.00hrs this evening:

    Download Speed: 3.63Mbps
    Upload Speed: 309kbps
    QoS: 97%

    Now you decide to run the same test at home, you've got a 4 meg line into your house and on top of that running wireless in your house (so running the speed test wirelessly). Here are the results:

    Download Speed: 2.41Mbps
    Upload Speed: 378kbps
    QoS: 70% (remember this is running over wireless)

    I don't know the contention rate (so don't ask, will find out though). However what do you think of the results and of speed tests in general? I want to put up a good case for leaving the current ISP and moving to another one. I will be taking readings for a few weeks and various points during the day. Moving ISP's will be a big financial commitment as most likely I'd be going down the route of a dedicated line (so we're talking about over £13k for the line with a 1 to 1 contention rate) and internal filtering (like a blogg box, etc).

    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
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  2. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Just done the same speed test on my wife's PC that plugged direct in the router/switch, here are the results:

    Download Speed: 3.21Mbps
    Upload Speed: 388kbps
    QoS: 85%

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
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  3. OceanPacific

    OceanPacific Byte Poster

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    Okay, im assuming your the administrator for a schoot IT department, correct?

    Why dont you call your ISP and tell them your not getting the speed you feel like you should be and they can run a study on it and possibly fix your problem.
     
    WIP: N+, A+
  4. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Mate, I'm the IT Manager :) I've only just decide to do this test this evening, and yes I'll be contacting my ISP in the morning (as well as continuing to monitor the speeds for reference). I wanted to know other peoples view on the results that I got, plus how reliable these speed tests are.

    And besides, because we've had alot of internet downtime compared to other industries. I want to get sometime alot (I'd even settle for alittle) bit more reliable. We host our own website and e-mail server, we hire out IT Services & the Repro dept, with the view of hiring out our finance dept. So everytime our service goes down, there is a potential loss of business.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
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  5. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    In any experiment check your results against multiple sources. This will either backup your assumptions or it will work against them - either way you have the makings of a business case to stay or change.

    Never having heard of this speed test, I tried it on my connection:

    Prometric
    Download: 1.14 Mbps
    Upload: 332kbps
    QoS: 11%

    From Giganews Linky
    Download: 5455 kbps.

    Also, repeat the same experiment a couple of times:

    Prometric:
    Down: 1.14, 1.95, 0.716, 2.09, 2.82
    Up: 332, 338, 333, 339, 339
    QoS: 11%, 23%, 25%, 50%, 79%

    Take the average - drop the highest and lowest and average the rest: 1.72, 337, 33%

    Giganews:
    5455, 5211, 5420, 5146, 4475

    Take the average: 5259kbps

    Huge difference, try some more and you'll be able to tell which is more likely to be telling the truth - from my download speeds from any source mine is definitely more like the giganews one.
     
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  6. r.h.lee

    r.h.lee Gigabyte Poster

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    wagnerk,

    What networking technology is your internet connection?

     
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  7. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I have ran multple tests on my line from various tests sites. I am paying for a 2 megh connection most place say I get 1.87 meg the lowest one has said 1.6 and the highest 1.98.

    When doing the tests I think it depends what time of day it is as I have done it with speedtest.net and I have had 1.7 at dinner time and 1.9 at night time.
     
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  8. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    i prefer to download something like ubuntu ISO to gauge my speed (currently 2.24MB /Sec)
     
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  9. Ozzy2k7

    Ozzy2k7 Nibble Poster

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    The best test is your ISP, they will be able to tell you what they are putting down the line. Thats your real test.
     
    WIP: A+ Network+
  10. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Ken,

    From the comments you've made, I assume you've got an SDSL connection with a 1:1 contention ratio? I'd expect the 'speed' to be based on distance from exchange, just as with ADSL; however, whatever you're getting downstream I'd also expect you to get upstream too. That's the idea of SDSL, as far as I am concerned.

    John
     
  11. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I believe it's fibre but to tell the truth, I've forgotten what exactly :oops: They upgraded it either last year or the year before, told me what it is and I filed it (as it wasn't high priorty for me to remember). Will dig out the paperwork tomorrow :)

    That's true, that's why I'll be taking multiple test thru-out the day over the next few weeks

    We've paid for a 10meg line, a couple of weeks ago they told us that's what we're getting 10megs. That's another reason for the speedtests.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
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  12. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    At first I thought it was SDSL but there's no where on their website that actually states this, in fact it just states "broadband" which is a very generic term (and since I kinda remember the engineer talking about fibre when he was installing the upgraded line, I assume it's some sort of fibre). It's suppose to be a 1 to 1 contention rate and 10meg both ways.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
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  13. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Thanks for that link mate :)

    On the work connection, it reaches approx 4700 kbps. In my opinion that's still low for a 10meg connection, isn't it?

    -ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  14. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    no worries.

    I'd say its a tad slow - my numbers 5500-ish is on a 8meg line (connecting to the line @ 8032Kb/448Kb) - normally download maxing at around 680Kb/s.
     
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  15. The_Geek

    The_Geek Megabyte Poster

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    Having worked for an ISP, when you call to report slow internet the CSR is first going to ask you where you ran your speed test from. Their next comment is going to be that if the speed test was ran from an "off network" site, there can be network issues that can cause the slowness.

    For example, I have Charter here. I run a speed test from a site on AT&T's network, but I have to cross Verizon's network to get to the speed test site. Verizon is having latency on their network which is affecting my speed test results. Charter's network is running ok (which never really happens, I'm just using them for example).

    If you ISP has their own site to test from and you are not getting your speeds, then they have an issue on their network.

    With that said, do run your tests from multiple sites all over the world so when you call your ISP you have that ammo. :twisted:
     
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  16. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Thanks mate :)

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
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  17. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Any news from the ISP yet, or are you still testing the speeds?
     
  18. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Ken

    Tell the ISP you want access to the router as you need to set up some counting on it. Then set up MRTG (or use PRTG as its easier to configure) and fire SNMP to a workstation & run an upload/download test nightly (robocopy some files to and from a server hosted offsite)

    If the ISP won't give you access to the external interface of the router (they probably won't) then just use the internal interface and collect stats from there. It won't be as reliable as running it from the external interface, but is certainly much more reliable and likely to carry more weight than speed tests run from public servers.

    One more thing - are you sure its not a 4/10 line? By that I mean 4Mb of bandwidth bursting up to 10Mb when necessary - this may account for the speeds you're getting.
     
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  19. MacAllan

    MacAllan Byte Poster

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    Whichever your ISP, if you are on some flavour of dsl in England, than essentially you are dependent on the same BT-Wholesale infrastructure as everyone else. So the best speedtest to use is theirs:
    http://www.speedtester.bt.com
    Follow the instructions on the site. It's probably the only test your ISP will pay much attention to - I'd be surprised if they measured the speed themselves. Make sure you have nothing but one PC/laptop connected to the router, and the router is not on a long extension cable to the wall socket. Oh, and if it is sdsl, obviously make sure you aren't using any dsl filters.

    If you're concerned about the financial cost of downtime you should talk to your ISP (or another one) about installing an sdsl line and a backup (MUCH cheaper) adsl line to which it could temporarily failover. Nothing is up 100%, so it's belt and braces time.

    Having said that, are those really the results of an sdsl circuit you paid £12,500 for? It looks more like £125 adsl MAX performance!
     
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  20. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Er - this isn't quite true. There are now several providers who have 'unbundled' from BT to a greater or lesser extent. None of them have LLU in the whole country, but many cover more than 50% of the population.

    Now how they manage their backhaul is another matter....

    Harry.
     
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