Have you done a speed test on sites like speedtest.net and gotten a less then ideal speed test result which differs drastically from what your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has promised? However before calling up your ISP and complain, Let’s look at some important factors that determine your speed test results.
Note: This article specifically addresses wired devices, for wireless devices check out our Ultimate Wi-Fi Guide
Find out the speed you’ll be getting for your plan
First and foremost, you need to determine the speed you’ll be getting from your ISP. A good ISP like ViewQwest would very transparently tell you your upload and download speed. For example: With ViewQwest’s 1Gbps plan, you’ll get 1gbps download speed and 500mbps upload speed.
As such, the average ideal speed test result for a ViewQwest 1Gbps plan would range from 700mbps to 900+mbps for download speed and 300mbps to 400+mbps for upload.
Find out your initial speed test results
To get started, do a speed test to determine your initial results. Try to do it at least 2-3 times to get your average speed.
Restart your devices
If the initial speed test results are less then ideal, restart your devices. These will include your router, desktop and even your ONT/modem. Most of the time, rebooting your devices helps to resolve most of the common issues that you face. Once done, try to see if there are any improvements on your speed test results.
Note: If you are using a laptop, ensure that you have plugged in to the AC power while doing the speed test as this will typically improve throughput and subsequently improve your speed test results.
Clean up your device
The speed of your device plays a very big role in the outcome of your speed test results. Do a clean-up on your device. Run virus scans and use software like CCleaner to free up space and memory on your computer. Also reduce the number of processes running in the background. An indication would be the amount of time your device takes to boot up and also how fast an application takes to load. If your device itself is slow, it might be time for you to do a reformat or even look at hardware upgrades.
Run speed test results with another wired device
Doing a device clean-up might take a considerable amount of effort, another easier way would be to do a speed test with another spare wired device.
Use another browser
Browsers like Google Chrome is known to take up substantially more ram then other browsers, thus speed test results might be slower due to that. Try testing your speed test results with other browsers to see if speed test results differ drastically.
Update your router’s firmware or change your router
Your router plays an important role in your speed performance. Ensure that your router firmware is updated to the latest one. Doing so could help improve speed significantly. If you are still using a very old router, it might be time for a router upgrade. Check out our router upgrade article to find out what to look out for in a new router.
Check and update your Network Interface Card
One common issue with not getting an ideal speed lies with the network interface card (NIC) of your device. Check that there are no issues with your NIC and make sure the driver is updated. If there are issues, check directly with your hardware provider or replace your NIC.
Note: Do also check if your NIC supports gigabit speed.
Plug your device directly to the ONT/Modem
If despite doing all the above, you are still not getting your ideal speed, plug your device directly to your ONT/Modem and run a speed test. If you are able to get the ideal speed via your ONT, that would mean there is an issue with your router. If all else fails, check directly with your ISP.