Inaccurate Network check results

Are your experiencing slow download speeds?

OK, there could be several reasons why. Let’s make sure that you’re getting accurate results.

  • Make sure that the slow result wasn’t a one-time thing. Try running a network check at a different time, like in the middle of the day or late at night. Avoid peak hours like dinnertime. Slow results can be caused by congestion on your Wi-Fi or larger WAN network, which are most crowded during peak hours.
    Also, sometimes ISPs throttle high-bandwidth traffic such as torrents and YouTube to “spread the wealth” elsewhere among other activities. It’s also possible that your ISP unintentionally slowed your network check, thinking it was YouTube traffic. Rerunning a network check can sometimes avoid this.
  • Turn off Priority device. Make sure that priority device is off. Priority device reserves bandwidth for the prioritised device and will result in slow network check results.
  • Contact your ISP. Your download speed is only as fast as your ISP allows it to be. Some plans have a cap of 25 Mbps, while others are up to 75 or 100 Mbps. Make sure that you’re getting what you are paying for. If you aren’t satisfied by your current plan, you might want to contact your ISP to discuss options for a higher plan.

How Network check works

Most online speed tests check for speeds between your personal device (a laptop, phone, etc.) and your ISP’s servers. Google Wifi’s network check represents the speed between your Wifi point(s) and Google’s servers (Internet speed) and then, independently, the speed between your personal device and your Wifi point(s) (Wi-Fi speed).

Results may vary because of congestion on your Wi-Fi network or the larger WAN network. Additionally, sites will often do something called “traffic shaping”. This means they will test the speed between your device and your closest ISP server (even though the sites that you visit most regularly might not be hosted on this server). The results will be fast, but not always accurate.

We believe that testing speed against application servers (e.g. YouTube’s servers) provide a truer measure of Internet speed for your everyday activities.

Want to run additional network tests? Check out M-Lab tests.

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