[Hidden-tech] Reliable, accurate, meaningful Internet speed test?

ussailis at shaysnet.com ussailis at shaysnet.com
Sun Oct 18 09:40:08 EDT 2015

There are several hardware issues going on here.

First NYC is a congested area, so the "speed" could easily be less. Your
packets are going to a machine along with many others, takes time to
separate all this, which can enter into the speed.

Then there is the route your speed test packets traveled. Darpa-net was
planned to be very robust in a nuclear war. Packets travel on whatever
route is available at the time and where the net software places them. Your
test to NYC, in theory, could have packets going to Europe and back, tho
not likely. While those to Tx could have a more direct route.

Finally there is a signal-to-noise issue than I run into with clients. You
mentioned DSL. At my house, Verizon DSL is restricted to what can go over
telephone lines. Verizon claims 3 Gbps, which I never see.

Now my wireless modem box claims 54 Gbps, which if it were one bit/Hz of
bandwidth would not fit in the entire WiFi band. The FCC and other users
might frown on this.

So some fancy modulation schemes are used to cram more bits/Hz down the
pipe. This requires a higher signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) on the line,
and/or thru the air.

Noise? Where's this noise? There is always noise in every communication
system. It may be weak, but it is there.

A higher S/N requires either more transmit power, or less range. Max
transmit power is fixed, so there is either a range reduction, or the magic
in the box reduces the bit rate to accommodate the range.

Now what has all this to do with a wired system, or even a fiber optic

Same rules apply. Excess noise, too many users, insufficient power, even
sharing the available power among users, all cause a lower thru-put. 

So is there a meaningful speed test? Probably if the receiving unit were
next door and hard wired to your box.

Jim Ussailis
National Wireless, Inc

PS If you want to wade thru it (make a big pot of coffee first) see "The
Mathematical Theory of Communication," by Shannon & Weaver.

Original email:
From: Robert Heller heller at deepsoft.com
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2015 16:54:38 -0400
To: hidden-discuss at mm01.tnrnet.com
Subject: [Hidden-tech] Reliable, accurate, meaningful Internet speed test?

Is there such a thing as a reliable, accurate, or meaningful Internet speed 

We are having some weirdness with trying to figure out just what speed our 
Internet connection *really* is.  Our provider is supposed to be giving us 
20Mbits down and 20Mbits up.  It does not seem to be that and when we run 
speed tests we get 'weird' results.

Speakeasy using the *Dallas, TX* server says we are getting 12.37 down, and
18.93 up, but their *New York, NY* server says something completely
4.70 down and 18.93 up. What does that mean, really? Why is it faster using
the rather distant Dallas server vs. the fairly close NYC server? Is
Speakeasy's NYC server a '486? Or what? Or is there something randomly
with Speakeasy Flash code?

DSLReports speed test is much better, reporting 16.16/17.7 megabit/second
not too bad.  

Speedof.me's HTML5 speed test reports somewhere about 5MBits down / 20Mbits 
up.  As does speedtest_cli's Python program.  Speedof.me gives no choice of 
server.  Choosing different servers with speedtest_cli makes little or no 

Note: all of the above are from the same *hardwired* machine at about the
time on a generally quiet network.

Is there anything like a truely reliable and generally accurate Internet
test out there?  (No I am not looking for a dead accurate speed test, just 
something with reasonable, repeatable *reliable* and *consistent* results.  
Results that make some kind of sense.

Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software        -- Custom Software Services
http://www.deepsoft.com/  -- Linux Administration Services
heller at deepsoft.com       -- Webhosting Services
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