Test your broadband speed

by on September 3, 2009

Q: I live in a hotel that has a WiFi system and my computer connects to it at 54 Mbps. The download speed ranges between 4 Kbps to 48 Kbps, depending on how many people are online at any given time. The system is connected to the Internet via a DSL line with a max download speed of 1 Mbps. What would the best way to increase my download speed be?

A: You are lucky in this case because WiFi and broadband are measured using the same units. Many times things in the computer world are measured in different units like MB vs Mb or KB vs Mb and it is difficult to tell what is going on. In this case WiFi and broadband are usually measured in Mbps so you can compare apples to apples, as some people would say. In this case your WiFi connection is 54 times faster than your DSL connection so it is very unlikely that the problem is the DSL connection. However, with that said, you should always verify that is the case and here is how we can do it.

The first thing you should do is visit DSL Reports and run the speed test there. I would run them once connected to WiFi and once connected directly to the DSL modem. This actually gives you two important pieces of data. The first is it lets you see what you lose in terms of download speed by connecting to the WiFi and it might point out that while the router says you are connected at 54 Mbps that you might not be getting the full speed because of noise or something else. The other thing you will find out is exactly what kind of download speed the DSL connection is capable of. Sometimes you might get a 1 Mbps DSL connection that is only capable of 500 Kbps or less. Remember when it comes to DSL the speed they advertise is the maximum speed you will get not the minimum.

With this information you will be able to figure out if a new WiFi router makes sense, which I am going to guess it will not. You can figure out if you need to contact the DSL provider and have them come run tests because you are not getting the speed you are paying for or if you just need to have the DSL service upgraded because you have to many people using the connection that it cannot keep up.

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3 Responses to “Test your broadband speed”

    Thanks for the information. As you may have guessed, I am pretty much a novice! The reason I mentioned kbps is because when I am downloading a file, the window that shows the progress of the download shows the download speed in kbps. I only have a wireless connection, there is no direct connection to the modem in my room. I will try running the test to see what it shows. What I am trying to do is convince the owner that he needs a faster DSL connection to the router. We currently are have the slowest speed that Verizon offers. My thinking is that if he would upgrade to the 7.1 mbps speed that it would handle more people online at a time without slowing everything down to a crawl! He thinks that upgrading the WIFI system, without increasing the DSL connection speed, will take care of the problem. Who do you think is right?


    The problem is most likely the DSL connection but we waled you through exactly how to test it. You would have to test with the dsl modem in the office where the DSL modem is.

    The reason we gave you all the testing information is so that you can work with the owner to verify what is wrong. Remember if the problem is actually the DSL connection and not the speed of the DSL connection then upgrading won’t do anything. You would need to have a tech come out and fix the issues.


    Thanks matt…..I will get together with the owner as soon as I can. Your help has been most appreciated!