Can I Test My Internet Speed?

You can check Internet speed on your computer—it’s a fast and easy test that you can conduct with the help of various online tools. With our test below, you’ll get insight into your overall network speed, as well as latency and upload and download speeds. Click the button below to do a speed test for your Internet now.

How to Check Network Speed on Your Device

To get the most accurate results from your Internet speed test, follow these guidelines: 

  1. Shut off other devices: Before conducting an Internet speed check on your computer, make sure that any other Internet-connected devices in your home (such as smart home devices, tablets, or gaming systems) are turned off. Testing your speed while using other Internet-connected devices simultaneously could affect the accuracy of your results.
  2. Connect the device directly to your modem or gateway: If possible, connect your computer directly to your modem or gateway with an ethernet cord. Accessing the system on a wireless device may impact the speed of your Internet connection. If you want to test your WiFi speed instead, we recommend using our WiFi speed check here.
  3. Maintain an up-to-date operating system (OS): Your Internet speed check may not be completely accurate if your computer is running on an older version of a Windows or Mac operating system. Consider updating your OS to the latest version for the most reliable test results.

Understanding Your Internet Speed Test Results

When you complete the above Internet speed test, you’ll be given four results in addition to the overall speed. These results are upload speed, download speed, ping and jitter. Learn more about each metric below. 

Upload speed: Upload speed is the speed your Internet connection requires to send data from one device to the Internet. 25 Mbps is often recommended for basic Internet use, but if you frequently video chat or live stream, or often send large files over the Internet, you may do better with a higher speed. 

Download speed: Download speed refers to the speed at which your Internet connection receives data from the Internet. Unsurprisingly, download speed is extremely important if you’re downloading a lot of data (such as music, movies, or photos). Speeds of 25 Mbps are good for basic Internet surfing but higher speeds may be better for more intensive Internet usage. Optimum’s 300 Mbps Fiber Internet plan offers matching upload and download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. In areas where Optimum Fiber is not yet available, 300 Mbps Internet is provided over a cable network with download speeds up to 300 Mbps and upload speeds up to 20 Mbps. Optimum also offers plans with more speed, including 8 Gig fiber Internet, which is fast enough to handle all of your online activities with ease.

Ping: Ping—also known as latency—is a measure of how long a piece of data takes to travel from a device to the server and back. Low latency helps reduce lag, which can make Internet activities like streaming video and music or playing games run smoother. A latency of 40-100 milliseconds (ms) is generally considered acceptable, but you’ll get the best results with a latency of 20 ms or less. 

Jitter: Jitter measures the variability of your network’s latency. For example, one piece of data may travel from the device to the server and back in 20ms; another piece may take longer, at 30ms. Jitter measures and averages these discrepancies to give you a clearer picture of your Internet’s expected latency. The lower the jitter, the more consistent your Internet’s response rates are—and the better your overall experience will be. 

Are Internet speed and bandwidth the same thing?

While Internet speed and bandwidth are similar, they differ in a few key ways. Network speed measures the transfer rate of data from a source (for example, a computer) to a destination (e.g., a server). Bandwidth, meanwhile, measures the amount of data that can be transmitted per second. The higher the bandwidth, the more data can be transferred at one time. 

To put it in more digestible terms, we’ll use an analogy. Imagine two highways: one with four lanes, and one with two. The highway represents the bandwidth, while the cars traveling on it represent your Internet speed. Even if all the cars on both highways are traveling at the exact same speed, more cars will be able to get to their destination within a given time frame on the four-lane highway—the higher-bandwidth road—than on the two-lane one, simply because there’s space for multiple vehicles to move forward at once. 

What factors can affect my Internet speed?

There are several factors that can affect Internet speed. First, and probably most obviously, is your Internet plan: Some plans offer higher speeds than others. DSL connections tend to offer the slowest speeds, while fiber-optic Internet—like Optimum’s 8 Gig fiber—generally provides the fastest Internet speeds. The device you’re trying to connect also plays a role, as using WiFi and a router may not deliver the same amount of speed as a wired modem or gateway. 

To accurately assess your Internet speed, it’s recommended that you perform your test from a computer connected to your gateway using an Ethernet cable. Wireless connections may give different results that don’t fully reflect your service’s potential. 

Can Internet speed be affected by the weather?

Another factor that may impact Internet speed is the weather. While small amounts of rain, wind, and snow shouldn’t interfere with your connection, severe weather conditions (think: high winds, freezing temperatures, and excessive precipitation) can knock down power and cable lines, damage underground copper lines, or interfere with electromechanical components like breakers or switches. 

It’s worth noting that wireless connections are typically more impacted than wired ones. For that reason, if the clouds start to turn gray, you might want to switch off your WiFi, and use an ethernet cable to connect to your gateway.

Weather can also have an indirect effect on your Internet: When conditions are less-than-ideal, people are more likely to stay inside and curl up with a Netflix movie or play their favorite video game. If Internet usage increases drastically in your area, it might overload the server, slowing down Internet speeds for you (and everybody else). 

Are Internet speed tests accurate and safe? 

Internet speed tests are typically reliable, so long as you remove any variables that can affect the outcome of the test. To help ensure the most accurate results, restart your device, modem, and router prior to testing. You’ll also want to shut off other Internet-enabled devices, connect your testing device (usually, your computer) directly to the modem, and clear your browser cache before starting the test. Keep in mind that all Internet speed tests aren’t created equally: Experts claim that HTML-5-based speed tests are generally more accurate than tests that use Java.

And, yes: online Internet speed checks are safe to use. They employ secure servers and don’t capture any personal information that could leave you vulnerable. 

Will increasing Internet speed stop buffering or increase WiFi range?

There are few things as frustrating as streaming a movie and, at the height of the action, seeing that dreaded “buffering” sign. Lowering the video quality may help reduce buffering in the short term, but you can often avoid it altogether by opting for faster Internet speeds. 

Keep in mind that what speed you need to perform activities (such as streaming or gaming) will vary based on how many people are connected to the network, as well as what they’re using the Internet for. For example, you may have a high enough Internet speed to watch your favorite film in HD—but if your daughter is hardcore gaming in the next room, your movie night may suffer. 

As for range, it depends. While increasing your Internet speed will not further your range in and of itself, you will experience faster speeds the closer you are to your router. So if you’re doing an activity that requires extra fast speeds, try and position your device as close to your router as possible. 

If range is a concern, you can also consider a WiFi extender like our Optimum Extender. It intelligently pairs with your gateway to ensure your whole home is blanketed with coverage.

Why is my Internet speed slower when I’m using a VPN?

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs for short), allow you to access the Internet through a remote server. They can be incredibly useful if you’re looking to browse anonymously or shield specific data (like your location). However, because they utilize a remote server, VPNs may slow down your WiFi—as we explained above, the closer you are to the router, the better. In addition, using a VPN adds several steps to the Internet connection process, which can slow down response times. 

If you’re not far from the VPN server or are using a premium VPN designed to not slow your Internet connection, you can try changing your server or the protocol, upgrading your Internet speed, or using a different device. 

Can Internet speed affect the frame rate (FPS) of games or videos?

Frame rate, or FPS, refers to how frequently consecutive images (or frames) appear on a display. There are multiple things that can impact FPS: the game itself, the quality of the video, the hardware, and the software. If your frame rate is slow while gaming or live streaming, look at all of these factors. You can also consider upgrading to a faster Internet speed. 

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