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June 2, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 2:33pm

Broadband speed check

List: How can you ensure you are getting the advertised speeds from your provider?

By Alexander Sword

Getting different speeds to those advertised has been a major bugbear for broadband customers for a long time, such that it is prompting major intervention from government ministers and public bodies.

For example, the recent Queen’s Speech contained a Digital Economy bill which amongst other provisions will introduce a right for people to receive automatic compensation when things "go wrong" with their broadband service.

Third party speed tests can help people in making a better informed decision on where to move to or finding out if their provider is delivering the advertised speeds.

There are three key areas to assess a speed with: upload speed, download speed and ping, which is essentially the reaction time of a connection.

Upload speeds, the rate at which data is sent to the web, are generally far lower than download speeds and are not advertised by most providers. For most people, the download speeds will be more significant as they will not have large amounts of data to put on the web.

CBR rounds up some tools for checking your broadband performance.


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1. Broadband Speed Checker

Broadband Speed Checker is an online tool available on desktop and also as an app for the major phone operating systems Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

This means that you can test the local connection from your mobile device when not at home as well as check your own network’s performance. This could be useful in deciding whether to log onto a network or simply use your cellular data.

The tool quickly finds the upload and download speeds for your internet connection, as well as the ping. Helpfully, the user can also input their postcode and find out the best local broadband deals.


2. Broadband Speed Test

A tool available on the website of, this test requires the user to input their postcode to find speeds.

However, since this tool does not directly test speeds through the internet connection that the user is on, the results may differ from the user’s own experience, as they are only based on average available speeds in the area.

Also on the website is a comparison of all the major broadband providers and the download speeds that they offer.



3. Which?

The consumer protection group offers a web-based tool for checking speeds alongside its range of reports.

It provides upload speed, download speed and ping

Which? also provides general advice for how best to use this test, with guidelines to try it at different times and on specific devices.

If users sign up as a member of Which?, they can also receive access to comparison service between different broadband providers.

4. uSwitch

uSwitch allows you to assess your own speeds and compare these to other operators in the area.

It also provides information on which provider is the best in your local area, along with advice for switching.

The checker uses the StreetStats tool to check the broadband speed by downloading and uploading dummy "packets" of data sent to uSwitch’s UK servers via "pings".

These measure the round-trip time it takes for these packets to be sent and subsequently received by your computer.

5. Ofcom

For the no less important area of mobile broadband, Ofcom offers a tool for those who are choosing a mobile provider.

This online tool allows you to choose an operator, input a location and find out the average reported quality of the cellular coverage in that area.

Users can input parameters such as 3G or 4G coverage, as well as find out speeds for both indoor and outdoor coverage.

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