You need a fast and reliable WiFi connection to share large files, stream movies, and have video conferences. Just because your internet service provider (ISP) claims that your WiFi is fast, that doesn’t mean you will achieve those advertised speeds. If you want to see how fast your WiFi connection really is, here’s how to test your WiFi speed, and what good download and upload speeds are, what ping is, and what jitter is.
How to Do a WiFi Speed Test
To test your WiFi speed, open any browser on your computer, phone, or tablet. Then visit hellotech.com/speed and click Go. To get the best results, you can repeat the WiFi speed test in different locations multiple times a day.
Open any browser on your computer, phone, or tablet. To get the most accurate results, disconnect as many of your other devices from your WiFi network as possible. It also helps to only have one browser tab open and to close all other applications on your device.
Then visit hellotech.com/speed. This page lets you run a speed test as many times as you want for free.
Next, click Go and wait for the test to finish. The speed test will show you the download speed, upload speed, ping, and jitter of your internet connection (more on what these terms mean below).
Finally, repeat the WiFi speed test. To make sure that your speed test is accurate, you will want to repeat the WiFi speed test in different parts of your home or office at different times of the day. Your download and upload speeds, ping, and jitter might change depending on your network congestion, interference from nearby networks, and more.
Once you complete the WiFi speed test, here’s how to interpret the results:
What Do WiFi Speed Test Results Mean?
A WiFi speed test will show your your network’s current download and upload speeds, as well as your ping and jitter. The most important number is your download speed, which will tell you how fast you can surf the web and download files.
What is Download Speed?
Download speed refers to how fast your device receives data from the internet, which is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The higher your download speed is, the faster you will be able to load web pages, download files, stream videos, and more.
Your download speed will directly affect how fast you can download a file from the internet. For example, it takes around 15 minutes to download a 1 GB file if you have a download speed of 10 Mbps. On the other hand, it only takes around 1.5 minutes to download the same file if you have a download speed of 100 Mbps.
What is a Good Download Speed?
A good download speed for most households is at least 12 Mbps. This will let one person browse the web comfortably. The FCC defines fast download speeds as 25 Mbps and higher. However, if you have multiple connected devices, you might need download speeds higher than 50 Mbps.
To watch YouTube videos online, Google recommends you have a sustained download speed of at least 0.5 Mbps. However, that will only let you watch videos in 360p, one of the lowest resolutions possible. To watch videos in SD (standard-definition), Google recommends you have a download speed of 1.1 Mbps.
To stream videos in HD (high-definition), Netflix recommends you have a download speed of 5 Mbps. And to stream videos in 4K, Netflix recommends you have a download speed of at least 25 Mbps. If your WiFi speed falls below this, you might experience buffering or your video quality will go down.
To video chat, Skype recommends that you have a download speed of at least 0.5 Mbps. However, you will need faster WiFi speeds for group video chats. Skype recommends you have a download speed of 2 Mbps to video chat with 3 people and 8 Mbps to video chat with 7 or more people.
To stream music, Amazon recommends you have a download speed of 1.5 to 2 Mbps. And to stream music in Ultra HD, Amazon recommends you have a download speed of 5 to 10 Mbps.
To play video games online, Microsoft and Nintendo both recommend you have a minimum download speed of 3 Mbps. However, some more intensive online games might require faster download speeds. For example, Activision recommends you have a broadband internet connection to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on a PC. The FCC defines broadband internet download speeds as 25 Mbps.
It is important to note that the more devices you have connected to the same WiFi network, the higher your WiFi download speeds need to be. So, if you want to stream 4K content while playing online games and video chatting on 5 devices at the same time, Google recommends you have a download speed of 50 to 100 Mbps. If you have more than 5 devices connected to the same WiFi network, you might need a download speed of 200 Mbps or higher.
The average download speed for fixed internet in the US is currently around 161 Mbps, based on recent data from Ookla.
Upload speed refers to how fast your device can send data over the internet, which is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). You will need a fast upload speed for live-streaming videos, sending large files over email, and video-chatting.
Your upload speed will usually be much lower than your download speed unless you get a symmetrical internet plan.
What is a Good Upload Speed?
A good upload speed for most households is 3 Mbps. The FCC defines this as a fast upload speed, so it is good enough for most activities online, even if you have multiple connected devices. However, if you want to live stream, you will need a higher upload speed.
To live stream video in HD on YouTube, Google recommends you have an upload speed of 5 Mbps. To live stream in 4K, you should have an upload speed of at least 35 to 45 Mbps. If you want to live stream in 4K at 60 frames per second, you will need an upload speed of 53 to 68 Mbps.
To video call in HD on Skype, you need an upload speed of at least 1.2 Mbps. However, to video chat with high-quality video, you only need an upload speed of 0.4 Mbps. If you use Zoom, it is recommended you have an upload speed of 1 Mbps for group video chats or 3 Mbps for HD group video chats.
The average upload speed for fixed internet in the US is currently around 60 Mbps, based on recent data from Ookla.
What is Ping?
Ping (also known as latency) refers to how long it takes your device to receive a reply from a server after sending a request. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower your ping is, the more responsive your connection will be, which is especially important for online gaming.
The quality of your ISP’s cabling infrastructure and equipment is mainly what affects your ping. When your connection frequently suffers from high latency, you should consider upgrading your modem, router, or cables. If that doesn’t solve your issue, you might want to consider getting a new internet plan or changing your ISP.
Your WiFi speed can also affect your ping. While a slower connection speed is more likely to give you a higher latency, that doesn’t mean fast WiFi speeds will guarantee you a low ping. Also, your latency can increase if you have too many devices connected to the same WiFi network.
What is a Good Ping?
A good ping for most households is below 60 ms. With a ping between 60 ms and 100 ms, you might encounter momentary delays from time to time. Anything beyond 150 ms, and you can experience noticeable lag, which will affect gaming.
Jitter refers to the fluctuation in ping over time. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). It tells you the variability in how long it takes your device to send and receive data over time. That means the lower your jitter is, the more consistent your latency will be.
What is a Good Jitter Speed?
A good jitter for most households is under 20 ms. If your jitter is above 30 ms, it might impact the quality of your audio and video when video chatting. With a high jitter, you can also experience buffering or streaming audio or video.