Internet Speedometer & More

May 9, 2013 bandwidth testing, firefox, Internet bandwidth, 0 Comments
Internet-Speeedometer and FireFox add-on

An Internet speedometer is a handy tool that tests your Internet connection and can quickly and easily tell you if you’re not getting the full Internet speed that you’re paying for. There are a number of different types of these tools, but the most popular are those that are web-based and those that are browser Add-ons. Digital Landing has a very good web-based Internet speed test and Hoo Technologies makes an excellent real-time network monitor.

Digital Landing’s Internet Speedometer Test

I’ve been working on computers and networks for close to 20 years now. In that time, I’ve had the opportunity to use many web-based Internet Speedometer tests, some that were excellent and extremely accurate, and others that were horribly inaccurate. I have found that not only is the Digital Landing speed test extremely accurate, it gives users a number of data points that other speed tests don’t give.

  • Comparison of your download speed with state and national averages on the same results page.
  • Latency — The delay inherent in all networks that varies from network to network depending on the equipment in use.
  • Links to tips and tricks that can help you increase your Internet speed.

What Is an Internet Speedometer?

An Internet speed test isn’t really a speedometer, since a speedometer in the true fashion of the word shows a real-time representation of how fast you’re going. Most of the tests available on the Internet are static tests.

Internet Speedometer - Digital Landing Internet Speed Test

This means that they recommend you stop all other activity while you’re running the tests, so they can measure your maximum bandwidth, or the maximum amount of data that your connection is able to transmit to you and from you to the Internet, like when you’re posting photos or videos to Facebook. The wider the bandwidth, the faster things can be sent and received.

Most browsers come with a pretty accurate Internet speedometer built in, however, they’re only capable of dynamically measuring the speed of individual downloads and most don’t combine these measurements into a single representation. However, there are a number of utilities out there that are true speedometers for your Internet connection, giving you a dynamic, real-time display of your bandwidth usage. Some of these tools even display the different applications, protocols, and ports that the bandwidth is being used by. This is extremely helpful when you’re trying to figure out what is sucking up the bandwidth that you’re paying for.

NetMeter by ReadError

This is a dynamic bandwidth test utility from a company with a funny name. NetMeter is a free tool, and while it does accurately show you how much of your connection is being used, the graphical interface is pretty sparse. The tool gives you control over what network adapters it monitors. The graph that depicts networks speed is quite accurate and very easy to read.

Net Meter by Hoo Technologies

Net Meter by Hoo Technologies is similar to the ReadError tool, but, in my opinion, even though it costs about $30 after the 30 day free trial, it’s a much better tool. This is because the graphs it displays are much easier to use and provide much more detailed information. The program can be configured to show real-time graphical or numerical displays of the bandwidth being used by the monitored connection. This feature can be set to display next to the system tray and/or on the top of your browser window, keeping it out in front of you just like a real Internet speedometer.

Additionally, and even cooler in my book, the program can also be easily configured to graph out the bandwidth usage by protocol, application, and port, as well as generating daily, weekly, and monthly usage reports. This last feature is especially useful for those that live in areas not served by regular high speed broadband service and relying on either a rural Wi-Fi or a cellular connection, as well as other connection types that charge by the amount of data transferred.

If you’ve ever been the victim of an Internet slow-down caused by a malware or viral infection of your computer, Net Meter’s ability to track bandwidth used by application and protocol can alert you to any recurrences of a similar nature. Even better, if you’re an Android mobile device user, there is also a version for Android that can help you keep your data usage costs in check using the usage alarm functions the program has.

A true Internet speedometer can help you diagnose connection issues that running a speed test will show you. A good tool, such as the ones above, will help lead you in the right direction to see where your problem is occurring and what’s causing it. Once you have those two pieces of information, fixing the actual problem becomes much easier.


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Mike is a certified low voltage installer with over 10 years of professional experience in the field, much of it working for Cable TV companies. He also has over a decade of experience in the computer field as a network engineer and support specialist. Mike's hobbies include installing high-end audio and video systems.

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