Internet Speed – Are you getting what you pay for?

This past weekend I had a glitch in my Comcast internet service. On Saturday afternoon my internet connection simply died. It was pretty obvious to me that the issue was between my house and Comcast but they assured me there were no issues and that they’d send someone around to look at it… on Monday… in the mid afternoon… because I don’t need to earn a living someplace else…

Anyway, after reading a book and then heading out to a friend’s place for a small party I came back and found my internet connection was miraculously restored. Good thing it was Easter, otherwise surely that miracle would not have occurred.

So I don’t know, and obviously Comcast also doesn’t know or will not admit, what happened but I’m online again. Since I don’t really trust miracles, I ran some speed tests and, as you can see below, the results are typical and all over the map.

Does anybody out there have any idea which tests can be trusted and why?

As you check these out keep in mind that I’m a Comcast internet subscriber. I get nothing else from them so in theory, nothing happening at my place should alter these results (i.e. TV or Phone service through Comcast) and nobody’s in the house as I do this and nothing on my other computers is set up to automatically chew up bandwidth right now.

I pay $70.37 a month – yes they punish me nicely for not bundling – and I’m *supposed* to see 12 Mbps down (actually 15 Mbps with “turboboost” whatever the heck that is) and I’m guessing 4 Mbps up.

Comcast’s own speed test - http://speedtest.comcast.net/ reports 23.15 Mbps down and 4.26 Mbps up

Speakeasy - http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ reports 15.74 Mbps down and 4.15 Mbps up

Speedtest.net - http://www.speedtest.net/ reports 24.62 Mbps down and 4.26 Mbps up

testmy.net - http://testmy.net/ reports 10.9 Mbps down and 3.4 Mbps up

and finally, AT&T’s (Uverse) test  -  http://www.att.com/speedtest/ reports 42.08 Mbps down and 4.09 Mbps up

Overall, for upload speeds I’m at least pretty confident that it’s at about 4 Mbps.

For download speeds, I don’t mind saying that AT&T’s results have always been hysterically optimistic so I discount those results right away.

The remaining results vary between 10.9 and 24.6 Mbps.

If I watch the cute graphics on the flash testers the little speed needle tends to bounce up and down throughout the testing period. The more bouncing, presumably the more latency / drops during the test??

The only test that I, as an end user, really understand is that produced by speedtest.net. Basically they download a file of a certain size, time how long it takes and then give me my speed. This makes me partial to them but the part of my brain that doesn’t want me to be getting screwed by Comcast balks somewhat at paying $70 for below advertised performance.

Anybody out there with experience, knowledge or a reasonably formed opinion as to how trustworthy these speed testing sites and results are?

 

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on April 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm

1,794 views

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