Bits vs Bytes vs Baud

Bits and bytes are the root of some confusion with Internet speeds. Communications speeds are usually measured in BITS per second while most computer equipment specs and operations are measured in BYTES per second. Your "56K" modem or "2Mbps" DSL is 56 kilobits and 2megabits per second respectively. A "bit" is the primary data unit that all electronic devices use and is either "on" or "off" (also called "1" or "0"). Eight bits make a "byte". The "k" is short for "kilo" which means thousand (in the computer world it is actually 1024). A "kilobit" is 1024 bits and a "kilobyte" is 1024 bytes. To complicate this further is "baud" which is "level transitions per second" or "bits per second. With baud, kilo actually does means 1000.

Why are my downstream and upstream speeds so different?

Your Internet connection is asynchronous; it is faster one way then the other. Many Internet connections, almost all residential ones, receive faster then they send. Also a lot of Internet infrastructure becomes more asynchronous as you get closer to a "user" system and rightly so because most web traffic is from servers sending data to users.

The result seems too slow!!

No Internet connection runs at 100%, there are many factors that limit the speed you can send data over any communication medium. Your connection to your ISP is just one link in the vast network of computers and links that connect you to our website. Even if the last link to your computer is the slowest, all those other connections add a little bit (sometimes a lot) of delay. Our goal isn't to determine the maximum speed of your connection, but rather give you a practical, "real world", "over the internet" communications speed result.

Why is the result different each time I run a speed test?

The world wide web is literally a web of computers around the world. When the data from our site is traveling to your computer it crosses various other servers and networks, and depending on how busy those computers are when our data reaches them their speed will vary. Time of day plays a part and there are definite Internet "rush hours". Try running the test at different times of the day and compare the results.

How can I get a faster Internet connection?

The options are:

1. Upgrade to a faster internet connection.

2. Run registry tweaks that optimize the way your computer handles the incoming bits.

3. Upgrade to Windows XP, which is designed to handle high speed connections.