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Bandwidth Tests vs. Speed Tests

bandwidthvsspeed 1200What do they actually measure?

Many of us have used a website to test our Internet speed. And you may have noticed that the results of these speed tests vary and often do not match what you see on your bill. Why is this? It comes down to the difference between bandwidth and speed. (Yes there’s a difference!)

Bandwidth vs. Speed what’s the difference?

“Bandwidth” is capacity of the Internet connection (the size of the pipe), and this is what you purchase from your service provider. “Internet Speed” is the measure of how fast information is transferred over that connection. 

What do Internet speed tests measure?

Internet speed tests found online, such as the Kentucky Broadband Initiative speed test, do not measure the capacity of the connection that comes into your home from your Internet service provider. Rather, these Internet speed tests measure how long it takes your computer to download and upload a file of a known size. 

What if my speed Isn’t what I expected?

Things that may reduce the actual speed measured by these tests include:

  • your WiFi capacity, 
  • the processing power of the device you’re using (laptop, smartphone, etc.), 
  • other applications that may be running (desktop applications, open tabs, music streaming, etc.), 
  • other devices using data over the same network (smart TV, security cameras, gaming consoles, etc.) 
  • running the test over WiFi instead of a direct ethernet connection.

For these reasons, the results of an Internet speed test will rarely approach the broadband capacity being delivered by your Internet service provider.

Can I measure the Bandwidth being delivered by my ISP?

How can you be sure you’re getting the capacity you’re paying for? You can test it directly from your router. If you’re a DUO Broadband customer and have the GigaSpire BLAST router, you have the capability to test your line speed directly from the router using the YOUDUO Mobile App Bandwidth test. This test is not hampered by your network or devices and measures the full capacity that comes into your router.

Can I make my network faster?

By comparing your Bandwidth result to your speed result you may be able to identify bottlenecks in your home or business network, and possibly take corrective measures. Be looking for a future article on how to speed up your network!


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