The need for speed

Before you start thinking about putting your fist through your computer monitor because your browser is acting up again, have you considered investigating the speed of your internet connection?  

The browser is only as good at displaying information as the speed of your connection.

Or, perhaps you know that you’re paying your Internet Server Provider so much a month and you’re expecting to get certain speeds.  How do you know that you’re getting what you’re paying for?  How do stack up to the speeds that you see other ISPs advertise?

Well, there are resources on the internet that will allow you to quickly <grin> determine this.

For the longest time, I used Speedtest by Ookla solely to do the task.

For the most part, it confirms what I already knew.  I have a fairly slow connection and it never reaches the speed that I pay for.  (although the fine print says “speeds up to”)

As long as I’m reading and writing, it gets the job done.

Updates to software are typically done overnight so that I don’t get frustrated watching the progress meter inch along.  When speed and reliability are of importance, I’m off to sponge some faster access elsewhere.  

But, I always wanted a second opinion – maybe Speedtest should be fact checked?

When you think of it, bandwidth is of real importance to Netflix so it was natural that they have their own utility.  I was impressed at this point in our connected time that the domain https://fast.com/ was actually available for them!

Running it confirms the numbers for download speed that Speedtest reported.  Interestingly, Fast only records download speed which makes sense.  Netflix wants to send you movies and shows; they don’t want you to upload your crappy cat videos.

In the classroom, this can provide some very interesting data for students to collect and analyse.

  • what is the speed of our school’s connection?
  • if we all watched a YouTube video on our computers at the same time, could we affect the overall speed?
  • are there times of the day that are better than other?
  • can we convert kbps to Mbps?

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