posted on February 04, 2013 20:35
- First check the bandwidth which is the amount of data one can pass thru the line under the best conditions using large packets. It is measured in bits per second. Go to http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ pick a city near you and run the test. If I get a crazy answer I Google some other "speed test". The crazy (high) answers sometime come from the browser caching the test data. My FIOS connection from Verizon is 15 Mb (Megabit) download and 5 Mb upload. If you are running WindowsXP and don’t get close to the expected values then run SpeedGuide’s TCP Optimizer. This program will set a number of TCP/IP parameters for your line. You will have to reboot after running it. Set the parameters for the fastest device on the connection. For example, if your Ethernet connection only goes to your 10Mb FIOS connection; then select 10Mb. If you also have a NAS server on your local network, then set it for 100Mb. If you are running Vista, Windows 7 or 8 you shouldn’t need to run this program.
Note: Each major update of your browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, etc.) seems to tweak how they cache data. These changes often screw up download bandwidth tests. If you get a very high download bandwidth number try some other test. For example, with IE9 and FireFox 5, I showed 26-48 Mbits of bandwidth on my 15 Mb FIOS line. Over time the providers of these tests update them to work correctly.
- Next check for packet loss which is the percentage of TCP/IP packets that have to be resent due to errors, and jitter which is how consistent the line is. If I have Java installed, I use 8x8's VOIP’s test. Be sure to click on the box to start the test. On my line, I get 3.4 ms of jitter and 0% packet loss. This tool also does a speed test. This one shows 14.5 Mb and 4.2 Mb. This test is designed to tell if your internet line is high enough quality for running voice over the internet.
- Latency is how long it takes for a packet to make a round trip to another computer. It is limited by the physical distance and the speed of light. It takes longer for me to round-trip at packet to London than Los Angeles from Seattle. If you bring up a Command window or a MSDOS window and type “ping www.whichvoip.com” you should see something like Reply from 188.8.131.52: bytes=32 time=32ms TTL=51 In this case the latency was 32 milliseconds for me. WhichVOIP is located in Los Angeles. If I were to ping bbc.com in England I would see something like 160 ms. This will give you a range of reasonable numbers. Note that your bandwidth has very little to do with this number since you are only sending 32 bytes. A dialup line would get very similar numbers. However, cell phones have VERY HIGH latency - often in the 300 to 400 ms range.
- If you want to know where a domain, site or IP address is located use UTrace to do this and you will find the city. Note that this is the location of your ISP’s connection to the internet. I am located in Woodinville WA, but since Frontier's nearest central office is in Bothell, WA that is what is shown.
- If you what to know who owns a domain go to DomainTools and do a whois lookup.
- If you get bad results with any of the above tests then try them several times to see if the problem is consistent or a one-time event.