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FAQ: How do I check my own internet speed/connection?

On occasion when Ultranet or general browsing can seem slow or unresponsive, it is useful to know what your internet connection speed is at that time. This can help determine if the connection has anything to do with the performance, or if it is likely the site/application itself. 

One useful online resource that provides this functionality is Speedtest.net.

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Speedtest.net puts sophisticated broadband testing and analysis tools into the hands of anyone interested in finding out just how connected they actually are. This free service from Ookla opens hundreds of testing locations around the world to anyone curious about the performance of their Internet connection. You can use this tool to view your service's performance history, then share and compare with others near you—or around the globe.

Running a test

To perform the speedtest, simply select the test server you want to run the test against from the map. In most cases, you can use the server located closest to your current location. For checking connectivity to the Ultranet hosting service, you can try either of the Auckland server options to get a rough indication of your speed in mega-bits-per-second.

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The Ping value indicates how long it takes in milliseconds for a small test message to be sent and returned to the server. Values in the hundreds are generally considered slow, and may indicate routing issues.

The Download speed determines how quickly content can be sent from Ultranet/the website to your device. As a guide: traditional dial-up speeds would be around 0.007 Mbps; ADSL or Broadband speeds would usually be between 2-10 Mbps; Fibre speeds can be upwards of 15 Mbps. Remember that if you are testing on a school network, this download capacity is then shared between the devices across the campus (i.e. the more devices simultaneously using this download capacity, the slower it will be for everyone).

The Upload speed determines how quickly content from your device can be set to Ultranet/the website. This is usually throttled much lower than the download speed, and is what will influence how long it takes to send your files, photos or videos to the web destination. As always, the general rule here is to compress/optimise objects for the web before uploading, so as to minimise the time it takes to send the file and also the bandwidth usage.

What to do with the results

When noticing and reporting issues with Ultranet speed/performance, a speedtest result can also help the technical team in diagnosis. Sometimes this can be the source of the problem, or it can help with simulating the conditions in which a symptom may arise.

In general, it is also useful to run the speedtest semi-regularly to build up a profile of your typical connection speed. This can then make it obvious if you notice a general slump in internet connectivity, and can directly attribute this to the connection speed (as opposed to getting distracted with troubleshooting the computer or the website).

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