Broadband is the name associated with high-speed Internet access that is ten times faster than dial-up Internet connection. A standard broadband speed is 512 kilobytes. An Ethernet network can support up to a maximum bandwidth of 100Mbps but this is never maximized because of network congestion. Broadband is delivered in several ways, and the most popular are DSL broadband, Cable broadband and Satellite broadband with DSL being the most popular and Cable coming in second. These two types are more effective, faster and cheaper than satellite broadband.
The amount of bandwidth is the most important factor to consider when you choose a broadband service. Do note that bandwidth capability as advertised by an Internet Service Provider is dependent on the time of day and the day of the week. This is due to the fact that the IS Provider usually allows more users to use their network than their network can handle on the premise that not all subscribers will be operating on the network and using the maximum downloading capability of the service all at the same time.
This is the main reason why you need to check your cable speed at different times of the day and week. There are many websites that offer speed testing on cable and DSL connections. Some will require you to enter your Internet service information like dial-up modem or DSL or cable. Some will do it automatically. Some web services will allow you to test your upload and download speed against different locations. Overall you get a general idea of your cable or DSL Internet connection performance. Based on some fixed system specifications, a speed tester will internally upload or download a file - document of varied sizes as well as media files - to test your Internet connection against either a fixed site/location or several locations around the globe.
Here are some sites that you can go to for speed testing your cable connection.
- Bandwidth Place. You can use their speed tester for free for a maximum of three times per month. The site also offers subscription to those who want to do frequent testings. Download speed result is based on a 1 MB file download. It will ask you for your location and what type of Internet service you are using.
- CNET Bandwidth Meter. You need to specify the type of Internet connection you are using and will test your download for a file size between 50KB and 1.5MB. The site uses a fixed server location based in the United States. The Internet speed tester hosted by MSN is based on the CNET test system.
- Broadband Speed Test. This site is based in the United Kingdom. The speed tester is a standalone program for Windows. This one offers a more efficient speed testing and can work well with global test servers.
- DSL Reports. This server can do different Flash-based speed test services for broadband, other high-speed Internet connections and for mobile phones. The site will give you upload and download bandwidth measurements as well as a latency report in milliseconds. If you have a slower CPU that does not handle Flash that well, it is recommended that you do another testing using a service that is not Flash-based for comparison.
- Speed Test. The speed test this server performs is based on single large file transfer and will give you a download and upload speed test result but not much on network latency. Speakeasy, one of the popular speed testing services on the Internet uses a technology based on Speed Test.
Although your cable Internet connection maintains a high-speed performance most of the time, you also have to base your test results on the speed of your CPU. Older computers are slower and may not be able to maximize the upload/download speed capability of your Internet connection. There are also Internet speed-enhancing tools that are available for free. If you continue to get low results, it may be time to try some of these applications just to check if they can give your Internet connection a boost.