Internet Speeds - How Fast is your Internet?

The internet has become a central part of most people's lives. From reviewing bank account transactions to locating information about the winner of a football game, the internet is used daily by billions of people across the world for wide-ranging purposes.

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Internet companies seek to enhance the user experience in many ways, with one of the greatest ways being the speed of the internet service being provided. Internet speed is one of the major factors that consumers use to select an internet service provider. Consequently, internet service providers aspire to have the fastest internet speeds to persuade consumers to partake in their services. Knowing the difference between internet speeds is valuable for any internet user as it can dramatically impact the time and ease of using the valuable resources that are available on the internet.

How Do You Measure Internet Speeds?

Internet speed indicates how fast information moves between the World Wide Web, the source that is used to access the internet, to internet-capable devices such as a laptop computer or a smartphone. Two types of speeds exist which include upload speeds and download speeds.

The upload speed is the rate by which information moves from an internet-capable device to the internet. The download speed is the rate at which information moves from the internet to the internet-capable device. The speed is most commonly measured in either kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). One megabit is equivalent to 1,024 kilobits.

Two types of internet services are typically available from service providers that include dial-up internet or high-speed internet. Dial-up internet can have a download speed up to 56 Kbps while high-speed internet, by definition, must have a download speed of at least 768 Kbps although speeds are commonly offered over 100 Mbps. The difference between dial-up and high-speed internet is sizeable in not only speed ratings but also in performance.

Best High Speed Service Providers

Consumers in the market for high-speed internet have several companies to choose from, some with unbelievable speeds. While all companies aren't available everywhere, at least a few companies usually exist in most areas in the United States. Some consumers take other factors into account when trying to decide which company is the best high-speed internet service provider, such as customer service. However, most people are simply concerned with the speed of the internet, and understandably, price. Many offers are available, especially to new customers, which leave most people to simply compare the internet speed that is offered.

Comcast Xfinity offers the fastest internet speed by a large margin with speeds up to 2,000 Mbps. CenturyLink, AT&T, and Frontier offer internet speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. Verizon Fios has internet speeds up to 940 Mbps while Optimum reaches 400 Mbps. Both Time Warner Cable, also known as Spectrum, and Cox Communications have internet speeds up to 300 Mbps. Charter Spectrum internet speeds reach up to 100 Mbps. Viasat offers up to 50 Mbps and HughesNet internet speeds can reach up to 25 Mbps.

How Do You Perform a Speed Test?

Speed tests are performed to check the actual speed of the internet being used versus the advertised speed by companies. Companies are allowed to advertise a certain speed because their technology can allow for certain speeds to be obtained. However, it's very common for users not to regularly experience the highest speed that a company advertises, although the actual speed should be within a reasonable range from the advertised speed.

Checking the speed of the internet being used on a device is best achieved when all other applications and downloads are inactive during the speed test as well as using a wired internet connection versus using Wi-Fi. To test the connection, an internet speed testing website must be used which oftentimes will be offered on the website of the internet service provider. After accessing the website, a start button will be available. Once selected, the test will begin which usually will be completed in less than one minute. After completion, a figure will be provided for the actual download and upload speeds. If this figure is lower than expected, it may be due to needing a computer operating system or internet browser update completed. Another reason for low speeds could be the capabilities of the actual device as some devices cannot handle very high internet speeds.

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