Internet Guide Logo

Measuring the speed of an ISP account?

Last Edit: 10/01/17

A line test is a good way to diagnosis any problems with your Internet connection.

Your broadband connection speed is measured in 'Kbps', which is short for 'kilobit per second'. Or 1000 bits of data per second. A bit is one single piece of data. For example '1234' would be four bits of data.

Below is a lists of the typical amount of bits you can expect from various Internet connections,

56k modem: 56,000 bits or 56 Kbps

ADSL Speed

Typical Download

512 Kbps package --------- 460 Kbps
1 Mbps package ----------- 920 Kbps
2 Mbps package --------- 1840 Kbps
8 Mbps package --------- 7150 Kbps

Typical Upload

512 Kbps package --------- 200 - 240 Kbps
1 Mbps package ----------- 200 - 240 Kbps
2 Mbps package --------- 200 - 240 Kbps
8 Mbps package --------- 400 - 750 Kbps

If your connection is not meeting the above download and upload rates then it's worth contacting your ISP so they can run some diagnostics.

If you have subscribed to a 8 Mbps or higher package, then it is rare you will ever get this speed. You need to be close to a telephone exchange to benefit from fast broadband. Therefore, if you live in a rural area, a village for example, then you cannot expect your connection to reach these speeds.

Quite often the ISP will try and fob you off with some basic excuses as to why your connection is not meeting the required speed rates. They could ask you to replace your adsl line filter, modem, cables, or reset your browser to the default settings etc. Therefore you should really test every part of your system before ringing them.

If you have a spare PC, then check your modem, and filter on it. Five times out of ten it will be something on your system causing the problem. And your ISP will not do a thing until you have categorically ruled out this possibility.

ISPs can over sell their bandwidth, and will never own up to this fact. If your a high usage user, then you will be the first to have your connection performance penalised. Wireless networks usually have a lower freshhold.

Poor connection?

If your suffering from a poor connection speed or lag, then one of the first things to do is a line test. This will enable you to test where the problem is occurring. It's not always the case that a poor connection or lag spike is the result of a faulty phone line or an attempt by your ISP to limit your usage level.

Spyware, adware, viruses, worms and trojans are often the cause of decreased performance. Secretly processing in the background they can rob your system of it's resources. It's a good idea to download a spyware removal program like spybot, ad-aware or windows defender from Microsoft.

Start off by running one of these programs to clear any nasties. If you have the time,then you could defrag your hard drive. If none of these solutions has altered your connection speed then it's time to move onto a line test.