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How fast is your internet? An easy way to see if your connection is as slow as it feels

    HP Elite Folio 13.5-inch 2-in-1 Notebook PC

It only takes a few seconds to check how fast – or slow – your internet is.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The next time your home internet connection struggles to load a simple web page, or Apple TV Plus continues to buffer while you play that new series everyone is talking about, take a few minutes to sort out what’s going on. A good place to start is by checking the speed of your internet connection.

enlarge connection problems from your internet service provider is the fact that many of us work remotely and may also have kids at home for distance learning, two activities that can strain your internet connection.

The solution can be as simple as restarting your modem and router or upgrade to a mesh network. Below, we’ll show you how to check your internet connection speed and give advice when it’s time to troubleshoot.

Run a speed test on your computer or phone

There are plenty of apps and websites that test the speed of your connection. Some of the more popular speed testing services are Speedtest.net or Fast.com.

Whether you’re installing an app or using a website, it’s a good idea to run the test a few times to get an idea of ​​your connection’s performance. Each test takes less than a minute to complete and provides the download and upload speed results.

FCC Domestic Broadband Guidelines

According to the FCC, this is how fast you need a connection based on your usage.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The FCC has published a guideline for broadband speeds for households based on the number of devices and people connected to the same network. The basic service ranges from 3 Mbps to 8 Mbps and is good enough for light use (browsing, emailing, video calling, streaming HD video, etc.). Average service is rated as 12 to 25 Mbps and is best for up to three users or devices in use at the same time with medium to high usage depending on activity. Finally, advanced service is any connection speed over 25 Mbps and is best suited for those with more than four users or devices that use the connection at the same time for more than light usage.

The speed of your Internet connection depends on the time of day, the number of devices connected and in use, and other factors. I recommend running multiple speed tests over the course of a day or two, tracking the results, to gauge the actual speed of your connection.

(For the techies, you can use a Raspberry Pi to run speed tests on a set schedule and upload the results to Google Drive for you to check by following this handy guide.)

Ideally, connect your computer directly to your ISP’s modem with an Ethernet cable to run a speed test, but that’s not always possible. But there is another option to run a speed test: use your wireless router’s app.

Speedtest results

A speed test is a quick and easy way to see if something is wrong.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Run a speed test on your wireless router

Depending on the wireless router you are using, it may be possible to run a speed test through the app. For example, Google’s Nest Wi-Fi offers the option to run a speed test in the app or by asking Google Assistant how fast your internet connection is.

Eero, Linksys Velop and Asus ZenWifi routers also have the same capability.

Using your wireless router’s speed test may theoretically prove to be more accurate since the router is connected directly to your modem.

No need to rush and buy a new router if the speed test results are lower than you expect or pay for. However, this may be the case depending on how old it is. Router technology, like any other technology, changes often and this can lead to performance issues. If your router was bought within the last few years, chances are it’s fine and the problem is due to something else.


There are many reasons why your internet may be slow.

Ry Crist/CNET

What to do if your speed is lower than what you pay for?

The first thing I recommend is to turn off your modem and wireless router, leave them off for about 30 seconds, and then turn them back on. Usually this solves speed problems for me. We have a few more tips you can try to get your network working properly again.

The answer is not as simple as calling your service provider and informing them of the substandard service. It’s a frustrating fact, but ISPs are allowed to limit your connection speed. However, there are steps you can take to determine if that is the case, or if there is another problem by following this guide.

You can also check your carrier’s app or website for an outage. The first thing I do when my Comcast connection falters is open the Xfinity My Account app and look for service issues. If there is one, the app will give you an estimated time of recovery. Knowing that the problem is not on your side means that you can forgo any troubleshooting.

Finally, you can call your carrier to make sure your modem supports the speed of your plan, or see if there are any plans or offers worth upgrading so you can get the speeds you need to get a have a stress-free day. work and play.

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