How and Why to Test Your Internet Speed

Speed tests can help you troubleshoot your connection — and decide if you want something better.

Does your internet seem slower than usual? Run a speed test to measure your current download speed, upload speed, and more. The results can help you understand how well your home internet performs, giving you info you need to either work toward a solution or consider a switch.

How to test your internet speed

It’s simple — run the Brightspeed internet speed test. First, make sure that you’re on the internet network you want to test (you can’t test your home network from the café or vice versa). When you’re ready, click below to go to the Brightspeed speed test, then hit GO and watch your results populate in moments.

Run the Brightspeed internet speed test

Understanding your speed test results

Once the Brightspeed speed test wraps up, you’ll see a small report with four speed measurements. Here’s how to interpret those results.

Download speed

Higher = better

Download speed measures the highest volume of data, in bits per second, that your router can accept from the greater world wide web at the moment of testing.

This figure doesn’t reflect how much data you’re using at that moment, just how large your container for data is. Your container size is determined by the maximum plan speed you purchased and how your ISP protocols are parsing out data capacities at the exact moment of testing.

Upload speed

Higher = better

Upload speed measures the highest volume of data, in bits per second, that your router can send to the greater world wide web at the moment of testing.

If your upload speed is much lower than your download speed, that’s normal. Historically, people have spent the vast majority of their internet time on download-direction activities, so internet providers have structured their plans accordingly.

However, the need for higher upload speeds is rising with the use of upstream activities such as cloud backup, video calling, and multiplayer gaming. Fiber internet does an excellent job of meeting both needs — usually, fiber plans offer upload speeds as fast as download speeds.

Ping (rate)

Lower = better

Ping measures the actual clock time that elapses between a single input, such as a tap or click, and its intended result. This window is so short it’s measured in milliseconds, i.e., one-thousandths of a second. 

As any internet user in history can attest, though, milliseconds can feel like millennia — that’s why high ping rates are often simply referred to as “lag.”

Since dozens of data requests happen every time you click, tap, or scroll, it’s important to measure more than one of them to get useful insights from a speed test. The ping you see in your report is usually an average of ping rates from multiple data requests in a row. 

The lower average ping you have, the smoother and more responsive you can expect your internet to feel, provided you have enough bandwidth to support the activity you want to do.


Lower = better

Jitter measures the average difference in clock time between each of the ping rates your speed test collected. 

If you look at only the average ping rate, you’ll have no idea how widely the ping rates in that data set vary. Looking at the variance between pings helps you understand whether they stayed fairly stable or jumped all over the place during a brief internet task.

The higher the jitter, the more your ping rate varies from click to click and the less you can depend on a consistently responsive internet experience.

Why to test your internet speed

Mostly, a speed test is handy for two things: troubleshooting a slow or spotty internet connection, and informing your search for better internet if you don’t like your results.

To use the Brightspeed internet speed test for troubleshooting, run one before calling customer service and share the results with your agent. The test will help them understand whether the problem is on your home network or the larger area network you’re connected to.

If they can’t help you, you may need to upgrade to a higher speed plan — or shop for new internet service with more promising upload speeds, download speeds, or lag/reliability indicators.

Experience the Brightspeed difference 

Shop reliable Brightspeed internet speeds starting at up to 100 Mbps — and Brightspeed fiber with multi-gig speeds and exceptionally low lag.

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