Aging Tech

Do Broadband Speed Tests Allow You to Judge Internet Quality?

There are dozens of internet speed tests out there, but which one should you use? Internet speed tests vary – accordingthe tests they do and the information they provide. While some speed tests will just test the speed of your internet connection, some will assess the quality of your connection as well.

When it comes to getting the most out of your internet connection, it shouldn’t just be about the speeds you receive. Try to find a speed test that assesses the speed of your connection and the quality. Before we go into what you should be looking for from the test, first we’ll look at some of the jargon you might come across.

Do Broadband Speed Tests Allow You to Judge Internet Quality?


Packets are pieces of information that are sent to and from your computer. For example, any webpage you look at is sent to you in packets, which your computer receives and puts together to form the page. The same applies for every email you send – each email is sent in packets for the receiver’s computer to reconstruct.


Ping a method used to send packets of information or messages from one computer to another. A ping test is used to determine whether your computer can communicate with another computer over the network. It can also be used to measure lag.

Network latency

This is the amount of time that it takes for the ping to reach you and to be sent back (usually measured in milliseconds).

Packet loss

Packet loss occurs when a packet doesn’t reach its destination. Packet loss slows down the time it takes to load a page, for example, as the lost packets have to be resent.


Jitter is the difference with the maximum and minimum latency results of a ping test. This can be a good test of network stability.

What results do you want to see on your internet speed test?

When you do an internet speed test, it’s important to be able to understand what the results actually mean. What you’re looking for is a low ping number (less than 10 milliseconds is good), and high download and upload speeds. You can use iiNets tool to check your internet speed.

Next look at packet loss. Ideally you would want 0% packet loss, however, that’s not always possible. Packet loss can be caused by a bad connection, interference or overburdened network hardware.

For everyday internet use, 1% or 2% packet loss is usually acceptable. If you are playing real-time online games or you are video-conferencing however, even 1% or 2% packet loss may be too much.

Next up, it’s jitter. If you do one ping test and you get a ping number of 1 millisecond, and you do another test and it’s 10 milliseconds, you have a lot of jitter. The higher the jitter, the less stable your connection is.

Again, high jitter shouldn’t really be a problem with everyday internet use, but you may notice it if you do a lot of online gaming, video streaming, or video conferencing. You are likely to notice it – and be annoyed by it.

If you are experiencing problems, you may be able to fix them yourself. Check for online guides, check your equipment, speak to your ISP, and if that doesn’t work, consider calling in a network technician.

  • Dec 19, 2013
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