[kwlug-disc] Reliable Broadband speed test

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Thu Mar 3 22:47:14 EST 2011

Raul Suarez wrote, On 03/03/2011 9:34 PM:
> I used to believe that all broadband speed tests were created equal.

No, depends upon time of day, amount of traffic, number of hops 
between, etc., etc.

Since you are talking broadband, not ADSL, I will assume you are on 

As you no doubt know, the only speed you can reliably test is between 
you and your next hop (ISP). Heck, even that isn't reliable as other 
internal equipment may be getting their fingers in the mix. So even 
then the only reliable test is with all other equipment in the house 
disconnected. (An advantage, therefore, to routers that have speed 
test capabilities within them, to take this variance out of the equation.)

For your purposes, assuming Roger's, use Roger's own speed test site: 

Even then, who knows whether this is even a reliable benchmark of 
perceived speed. e.g. Roger's may unfilter, or even boost, traffic to 
that site, for all I know. So results show fast speeds, but actual 
browsing gets perceived differently.

> A few minutes ago, it felt that my Internet connection was getting slower, so I 
> went to one of my trusted broadband test sites and it showed a very slow result, 
> then I went to another, and showed a surprisingly fast result, then yet another, 
> and showed a plausible speed.
> Is there a more reliable way to test broadband speed?
> http://reviews.cnet.com/internet-speed-test/     First 2.3 Mbps, then 20 Mbps, 
> then 10 Mbps
> http://www.whatismyip.com/tools/internet-speed-test.asp 10 Mbps, then 20 Mbps, 
> then let it rest and 10 Mbps again
> http://speedtest.primus.ca/ Between 10 and 20 Mbps.
> Could it be that Rogers is cheating and identifies traffic to test sites to 
> burst the transmission?
> After the checks the performance improved. but is not constant, There seems a 
> lot of stuttering (fast, slow, fast) even while loading the same page.
> So in the end, browsing feels sluggish even if the speed test says 20 Mbps.

AFAIK, Roger's filters and limits all encrypted traffic - so an https 
page will be slower than an http page.

And there's no way to know I know of to know that Roger's -doesn't- 
play with speeds depending upon where you're trying to go.

Add in time of day, moment to moment, congestion, and all the other 
variances, I suspect all one can know is: (a) is my connection speed 
to my ISP not diminished by anything on my end; (b) is it fast enough 
for me. And the only thing one can do if it isn't is change providers 
- and there's no guarantee that anything will be any better when you do.

Sad, but AFAIK, ce la vie. Particularly as all ISP speed promises are 
phrased as '... up to ...'.

In the end, AFAIK, all one can do is confirm that the promised speeds, 
to the provider's own speed test site, if they even have one, are 

Having said all this, I have had success in the past, if you can pry 
out of the ISP what benchmarks -they- use, with getting problems 
addressed. In that case it was execulink, and probably only because I 
was talking to their excellent (golden) support people on Victoria - 
and I don't in general often get to such non-execulink support people 
that both know what they're doing, and can directly measure anything. 
e.g. In the past I've gotten to such knowledgeable support people 
elsewhere, but they had to submit a request for a speed test not just 
run it - so their ability to detect or do anything is stupidly limited.

Execulink, according to my bookmarks, is 

Other links:


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