Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Phone for Internet Speed Tests

A person testing their internet speed using their phone.
Gutu Valeric/

Most of us use our telephones for virtually all the pieces, so it simply appears pure to seize your telephone to run a velocity take a look at on your property web connection. Right here’s why you must keep away from doing that—and what to do as a substitute.

Why Your Telephone Exhibits Inaccurate Outcomes

A query we regularly subject from our involved neighbors and mates is “I ran a velocity take a look at on my web. Why is it method slower than what I’m paying for?”

That’s actually a sound query. Who desires to pay for the top-tier web package deal solely to get the budget-tier speeds? Normally, after we dig a little bit deeper, we discover out the particular person ran a velocity take a look at on their smartphone they usually’re upset the result’s a fraction of the anticipated velocity. However that end result is to be anticipated generally.

How Velocity Checks Work

To grasp why folks typically get sluggish velocity take a look at outcomes when testing from a smartphone, now we have to have a look at how velocity assessments work.

We’ve checked out how web velocity assessments work intimately, however right here’s one related level to remember: The important thing element is that this: any time you conduct a velocity take a look at, you aren’t connecting your normal web connection to the velocity take a look at server. You might be connecting the machine you’re operating the velocity take a look at on to the velocity take a look at server.

Your Telephone’s Wi-Fi Connection Is a Bottleneck

The machine, on this case your telephone, has to navigate by means of your property community first and each single factor between that machine and the velocity take a look at server is a possible bottleneck. The second your most bandwidth exceeds the capability of any piece of community {hardware} between your modem and the testing machine, you’re going to get inaccurate outcomes.

When you’re getting velocity take a look at outcomes which might be a fraction of the web velocity you pay for whereas utilizing your telephone, the doubtless offender behind the bottleneck is your Wi-Fi router and/or the Wi-Fi machine you’re operating the take a look at on.

Why? As a result of, besides for folk with slower connections, the general velocity of the web connection (as measured instantly on the modem) is quicker than what a single connection between the Wi-Fi {hardware} and any Wi-Fi machine can deal with.

This contains not solely smartphones however all the pieces else on the community utilizing Wi-Fi together with tablets, laptops, sport consoles, streaming gadgets, and good TVs. In case your total broadband velocity is greater than what the Wi-Fi gear in your home can deal with, you’ll at all times get inaccurate outcomes operating a velocity take a look at utilizing a Wi-Fi machine.

The exception to this rule, in fact, is should you’re rocking very nice {hardware} related to a sluggish broadband connection. A new Wi-Fi router paired with a brand new smartphone has greater than sufficient bandwidth capability to outpace a 25 Mpbs DSL connection.

Evaluating Wi-Fi and Ethernet Velocity Checks

What does this seem like underneath real-world situations? Let’s soar proper into an instance that may doubtless really feel acquainted to tons of parents who’ve run velocity assessments utilizing their smartphones and unknowingly run into the bottleneck drawback.

Say you may have a gigabit fiber or cable web connection. Right here’s what a velocity take a look at performed along with your telephone would possibly look would possibly seem like.

Jason Fitzpatrick/Speedtest.internet

Our first pattern take a look at was run utilizing the Speedtest.internet iOS app on an iPhone 13 related to a Wi-Fi 5 community on a gigabit fiber connection in a residential location.

Roughly 240 Mpbs to a single machine is actually not a horrible connection velocity, to make sure. At that velocity, there’s no quantity of streaming video or cell sport updating you’ll be doing that leaves you saying “Ugh, why is that this silly telephone so sluggish?” However it’s clearly not the velocity you’d count on from a gigabit fiber connection. So, should you ran this take a look at proper after you bought gigabit fiber put in, you’d most likely be a bit dismayed.

We performed the identical take a look at, utilizing the identical iPhone 13, however related to a Wi-Fi 6 entry level on the identical dwelling web connection.

Switching from a Wi-Fi 5 entry level to a Wi-Fi 6 entry level yields a big improve in each add and obtain velocity as a result of the iPhone 13 can reap the benefits of the enhancements Wi-Fi 6 gives. However it nonetheless doesn’t precisely mirror the bandwidth of the web connection. You’d be happier with this take a look at, however would doubtless nonetheless surprise why you’re paying for gigabit web should you’re not getting it.

Right here’s the identical take a look at, performed with a desktop pc with Gigabit Ethernet utilizing the Speedtest.internet website, all whereas related to the identical dwelling community and web connection.

An example of a speed test conducted using a wired Ethernet connection and a desktop computer.
Jason Fitzpatrick/Speedtest.internet

The velocity take a look at outcomes right here, roughly 945 Mbps, are extra reflective of the type of velocity you’ll count on from a gigabit fiber connection. Contemplating we didn’t kick everybody off the LAN to conduct this take a look at or run it in whole isolation, we’re not frightened about it not being an ideal 1000/1000. Accounting for normal overhead and exercise, that’s correct sufficient.

If we had examined the identical connection utilizing a laptop computer’s Wi-Fi connection after which plugged the laptop computer into the router by way of Ethernet to check once more, you can count on to see the identical outcomes regardless of the take a look at being performed on the identical machine. Ethernet will constantly outpace Wi-Fi in any type of sustained velocity take a look at.

How Ought to I Check My Web Velocity?

If testing your web velocity utilizing your telephone is out of the query (in instances the place your web velocity is greater than what your telephone and Wi-Fi router can deal with,) then what must you do?

Check on the Router Degree

Keep in mind only a second in the past after we emphasised {that a} velocity take a look at is definitely testing the connection between the take a look at machine and the velocity take a look at server? Ideally, you must take a look at your web velocity with a tool that’s related as intently and effectively to the modem as attainable.

When you’ve got a contemporary router with beefy inside {hardware}, there’s likelihood you could conduct a velocity take a look at on the router itself by logging into the router’s management panel and beginning the take a look at there. By way of proximity and effectivity, it’s fairly robust to beat operating the take a look at proper on the {hardware} that pipes the web connection into the remainder of your community.

Check Utilizing an Ethernet Connection

One other good answer, should you can’t run the take a look at in your router, is to make use of a tool with an Ethernet interface corresponding to a laptop computer, desktop PC, or perhaps a sport console. Plug the machine instantly into your modem and conduct the take a look at that method. If you have already got a setup in place with a community swap related to your modem/router, you may at all times plug into that as a substitute.

Assuming you’re not utilizing a dusty outdated 10/100MB swap along with your new fiber modem or operating the take a look at with a extremely outdated laptop computer with a ten/100MB port, that is simply pretty much as good as operating the take a look at on the router itself so long as your {hardware} is as much as snuff.

Can’t Do Both? Contact Your ISP

When you don’t have a router that helps on-device testing and your family is totally Wi-Fi with none ethernet gadgets to check the router with, you’ll both have to borrow some tools from a buddy or contact your ISP.

You’ll additionally wish to contact your ISP should you run the velocity take a look at with correct {hardware} and the outcomes aren’t what you count on, to allow them to make it easier to rule out any points. It’s attainable one thing isn’t configured appropriately on their finish.

In each conditions—lack of testing {hardware} or outcomes that present there’s an issue—they will at all times ship out a technician to your property to hook a diagnostic device proper as much as the road and rule out any connection or {hardware} points on their aspect of the equation.

Ought to it end up the issue is actually your community gear as a result of your Wi-Fi router is sufficiently old to start out driver’s coaching, it’s most likely time to improve to a brand new one.

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