How to Use Speedtest.net to Check Your Fixed Wireless Internet Speeds
Are your fixed wireless internet speeds fast enough to support everything you want to do online, including video streaming (at least 5 Mbps download) and online gaming (at least 5 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload)? Find out by running a speed test on speedtest.net. Here’s how to interpret the results of a speed test, including download speed, upload speed, and ping time.
How to Read Download Speed
Download speed is the rate in megabits per second that your device receives online data over the wireless network. Every network sets aside a specific bandwidth block just for downloads, which makes download and upload speeds asymmetrical. Because people download online data more often than they upload it, the download bandwidth block is larger than the upload.
Bandwidth is closely related to internet speed, which is why download speed is usually much faster than upload speed when you run a speed test. Unless the network is highly congested with download traffic, your download speed will be significantly higher than your upload speed.
The average 4G LTE download speed in rural areas ranges from around 18.7 Mbps in fringe areas less than 5 miles from town to 12.5 Mbps in remote areas more than 25 miles from town.
How to Read Upload Speed
Upload speed is the rate at which your device sends online data over the wireless network. Upload speed is irrelevant or less important than download speed when it comes to watching video or browsing the web. However, a fast upload speed is key to avoiding lags in your video calls and decreasing your response time when you play online games.
The average 4G LTE upload speed in rural areas ranges from around 4.1 Mbps in fringe areas to around 2.9 Mbps in remote areas.
How to Read Ping Time
Ping time or “network latency” is the time it takes for a request, like clicking on a link, to go back and forth between the client (your device) and the server (the web host) on the network.
4G LTE has an average latency of between 40 and 60 milliseconds.
Even on wired internet connections like cable, there’s always a delay between the moment a client makes a request and the moment a server starts sending online data to the client. During that delay, the client formulates and sends the request over the 5G or 4G LTE network. Once the server receives the request, it sends a response that authorizes the data transfer.
The network protocols involved in sending a request – i.e. the way requests are formulated, encoded, sent, and handled by the network – determine latency. Latency can also vary slightly based on a network’s current available bandwidth and the size of the request.