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How to test your internet speeds for your computer or device

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 8/26/19

It’s very frustrating when your internet is slow or unreliable—as you may know all too well. Complaining to your Internet service provider (ISP for short) often leads them to up selling you to a faster plan (when it might not be needed) or them blaming your computer or Wi-Fi.

So here I share some tips on dealing with internet issues: Test your current internet speed: First, test your actual internet speeds, so you can compare to what you’re currently paying for.

There are many ways to do this, but my favorite testing website is www.speedtest. net. Once on the website, click GO, and within a minute or two it will show you the results. They also have a mobile app (Speedtest by Ookla) for Android and iOS devices if you have a smartphone, tablet, or iPad.

Keep in mind, the computer or device you use to test the speeds and the way in which its connected to the internet can affect the speeds. You should try to test using a computer that’s hard-wired to the internet modem, router, or gateway. If you must use a computer that’s wirelessly connected via Wi-Fi, you should get as close as possible to the internet gateway.

Discover what speeds you’re paying for: Most ISPs in the past sold their internet access with varying speeds, typically represented in megabits per second (Mbps), often spoken as “megs,” for the download speeds. Since upload speeds are usually much less than the download speeds, they can be less than 1 Mbps, which they would then be represented in kilobytes per second (Kbps). About 1,000 Kbps equals 1 Mbps.

Find out exactly what speeds you should be getting for the plan you’re currently paying for. Sometimes your monthly bill or online account from your ISP will tell you, but other times you might have to call the ISP. Some ISPs today try to get everyone on the same plan, like Spectrum that gives you up to 100 Mbps download speeds.

Check if you’re on an old plan: Telecommunication companies often change their services and pricing plans and conveniently don’t inform you if you could be getting a better deal. So at least once a year I recommend calling your TV, internet, home phone, and cell provider(s) to see if there’s any way to save money with another plan.

If you were a Time Warner customer before Spectrum took over and haven’t changed your plan since then, I certainly recommend calling to check on the new plans and ensure you’re completely switched over to the new service/pricing.

Reboot your modem/ router and computer: If you ever see test results much lower than what’s promised by your ISP or you’re having any other internet issue, first try rebooting everything.

Unplug the ISP modem, router, or gateway for a couple seconds, keeping in mind you might temporarily loose TV and/or phone service in addition to the internet.

Then restart your computer and see if that helps.

Call your ISP to test your connection: If you’re still seeing problems after rebooting the equipment, give the ISP a call. Though they might try to just sell you a faster plan, insist on them testing your connection, which they can usually do remotely while you’re on the phone. They might detect a low signal or connection quality due to a problem in your home or with the lines outside, which then they will likely send a tech out to investigate further free of charge.

Call a computer pro to check it out: If you need help in testing your internet speeds or are still having issues after talking to the ISP, consider calling a computer professional. A slow or corrupt computer can cause slowness. A poor Wi-Fi connection can also cause slowness for wirelessly connected devices.

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