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Speedtests will usually give you an idea of the speed of your connection, but beware, they are NOT necessarily an accurate measure.

There are essentially 3 ways of testing your speed ...

    •You can download a large file from a known site and time it
    •You can use a random downloader which downloads logos from lots of sites
    •You can use a speedtest site which uses a java or flash software

These all have their uses but they all have limitations that may not give you an accurate picture of your speeds.

    •Downloading a large file from a known site only tells you how fast you can get data from *that* site and that will vary depending on network conditions both on and off Rogers network.
    •Random downloaders eliminates the problem of downloading from just one site, but introduces latencies as random sites are selected and still the performance will vary according to the network conditions both on and off Rogers network
    •Speedtest sites are probably the more accurate way to measure speeds, because they usually eliminate problems such as browser "prefetch" (where your browser has already fetched a good piece of your file before you actually tell it where you want it stored) and they eliminate webserver performance issues at the remote site, and browser performance issues on your own system.

There are two lots of speedtest sites that you can access. Those that are either "on network" or "close network" and those that are "remote".

Remembering that most Rogers traffic goes through sites in Toronto before going out to the world, speeds may be impacted by any delays that result from this trip to and from Toronto.

Now remote tests are for example in New York, Seattle, Washington, etc. When you go to a remote test site your speeds will be impacted by network conditions between you and the server. These conditions can be extremely variable. Some days you may get clear sailing to one server and the next you may get horrible performance to the same server. Remember too that if you use multiple servers, you can only say that your connection speed is *at least* the speed of the FASTEST test site.

Local on network or close network tests are generally more reliable at giving you your actual connection speed. Rogers own speedtest at www.rogers.com/speedcheck is on Rogers own network, so Rogers network can be usually eliminated as a source of problems when measured here. Cogeco has a speedtest site at speedtest.cogeco.net which is "near network" in Cogeco and Rogers have a peering agreement through the Toronto Internet Exchange. Also now available are assorted tests on www.speedtest.net. If you choose to use speedtest.net, you have the choice of lots of different speedtest servers. Generally pick one close to Rogers in Toronto.

If the speeds reported by Rogers and Cogeco's tests are similar, you can be fairly certain that this is the speed of your connection to the network.

Rogers speedcheck can be a little slow at times, presumably due to system load, or its location on the network. Cogeco's is usually very consistent.

When using speedtests, one of the things we look for is consistency particularly if you're using distant servers. Note that you can't use a speedtest and say that "this is the speed I expect for sites in and around NYC" because there are multiple routes to get to NYC ... some may be slow, and some may be fast.

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by sbrook See Profile
last modified: 2010-08-18 17:44:30