Broadband Speed Test: How fast is fast enough?
Why do you need an internet speed test?
We recommend that you regularly test your internet to ensure it is meeting your current and future needs. By testing regularly you will be able to see if there is any reduction in your speed over time. This could indicate a problem with the service you receive, some problem within your property or a result of increased use of the internet during that time.
You can use these tests to:
- Check that you are getting what you paid for
- Check if the speed has changed over time
- Check how much streaming you can do
- Check the quality of voice conferencing you can expect
- Check how well your games will play
- Identify problems in your property
How fast your broadband speed should be
In general, the faster your internet speed the better but, before you pay for a higher package or swap providers, you should consider what speed is good enough for your needs. When you know what you need you should Compare Broadband Packages and see what speeds are available in your area. Please see our Choosing your provider and package page for more information about getting the right package for you.
The speed you need depends on if you are streaming content, making video calls or gaming. Browsing the internet, sending emails or using social media are not demanding. A speed of 25 Mb/s is probably good enough for the average home user. The more users and/or devices using the internet the more speed is required and the type of activity also changes the requirements.
- Faster download speeds mean more devices can stream better quality content.
- Upload is less important for normal users.
- Latency (or ping time) is important for gaming. Under 100ms is OK but under 40ms is optimal.
Test your speed now and compare the results with the following to see if your current speed meets your needs. We work hard to ensure our broadband speed test produce the best, most accurate results possible.
Speeds needed for streaming:
|Quality||Speed in Mb/s||Resolution|
|Standard Definition||2||854x480, 640x480|
|HD 720||1.5 - 4.0||1280x720, 960x720|
|HD 1080||3 - 6||1920x1080, 1440x1080|
|HD 1440||6 - 13||2560x1440|
|4K 2160||13 - 34||3840x2160|
Speeds of 0.3 (SD) to 1.5 (HD) Mb/s will be sufficient for video calls and speeds of 3 Mb/s are ideal for social media.
For online gaming, you will need download speeds of more than 3 Mb/s and upload speeds of > 1 Mb/s. Latency is particularly important for many online games.
Latency is a measure of how responsive your internet connection is. It has an impact on how long after you click something for you to see the corresponding change. This is why it is so important for games but it also improves any online activity. The ping test result included in our results will give a good indication of latency - the smaller the better.
Get accurate tests and improve your speed
It is important to understand the accuracy of each internet speed test as well as the purpose of the test. Our broadband speed test tool accurately shows the speed at a given time and under the circumstances that were present at the time of the test:- the result will be affected by any other device or application that is using the internet. If you want to measure the maximum possible speed you should ensure that the internet is not being used by other devices or applications and that the measurement is taken as close to the router as possible. You are most likely to be interested in how good your speed is in various locations in your premises, using wireless connections and when all members of the household are using the internet. If you are interested in monitoring how the speed changes with time then it is best to ensure you measure on the same device and at the same time and, where possible, with the same number of devices using the internet.
If you complain to your provider they will measure the speed at the router and it is this speed that will determine if you are getting what you paid for. For this reason, we recommend taking tests as near as possible to the router and ideally when connected directly to the router with a network cable. Our speed checker includes a wifi speed test that measures your wifi speed to identify any bottlenecks.
If you are interested in measuring the best available speed then you should consider the following things that affect the speed:
- Wireless or Fixed connection
- Other devices using the internet
- Apps being used on the device
- The router model and its settings
Please see our page dedicated to How to improve your broadband speed for more information about these and how to optimise your speed. See our How to improve wifi broadband speed page for how to improve your Wi-Fi speed. See our How to complain page for a guide to submitting an effective complaint to your provider, Ofcom and/or ombudsman.
About the SpeedChecker Broadband Speed Test
What must be installed to use our Broadband SpeedTest tool?
Our speedtest tool works in all modern browsers including the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. No other software or applications are required.
How does the broadband speed check work?
Our broadband speed check measures the time taken to download random data from our servers. Data is continuously downloaded until we are confident that we have an accurate result.
How long does it take to check my broadband speed?
Our broadband speed check normally completes in around 30 seconds. This time is required to ensure that the test is as accurate as possible. Quicker tests are not as accurate.
How accurate is the speed checker?
Our software analyses the performance of the test in order to ensure the results we provide are a true reflection of the user experience during the test. This is the actual speed at the time of the test and results at other times will vary depending on factors in the premises as well as other factors between the premises and the Internet.
Why does my speed vary?
Speeds can vary during the day for a number of reasons. You can read more here: How to Improve Your Internet Speed.
These reasons include:
- Wi-Fi Interference (from outside your home as well as from your own devices)
- Software updates and other downloads on your devices (mobile devices and TVs as well as your computers)
- Increased Internet usage by others on the same ISP exchange
- Temporary problems with your Internet provider
- Programs running on your computer (including browser extensions)
- Problems with your router
- Faulty cables
Why is my mobile speed different from my desktop/computer speed?
This could be for a number of reasons, such as:
- Your mobile device is connected to your mobile network operator instead of your fixed internet operator
- Your computer is connected via cable instead of Wi-Fi
- Your mobile Wi-Fi equipment is different from your computer
- There could be interference affecting one of the devices and not the other
- They could be using different Wi-Fi frequencies (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz)
- Other devices were using the internet for one of the tests and not the other
Why does the internet speed test fail?
This could be due to unreliable or unstable connections between the device and the internet. This is usually a temporary problem and repeating the test will be successful. We will keep trying to complete a successful test for up to 60 seconds before canceling the test. If the test still fails then please check the factors that can affect your results: How to improve your Broadband Speed.