For many Internet users, one of the first troubleshooting steps when online access seems to slow is to run a simple speed test. And, under the right circumstances, speed tests can be an effective way to pinpoint the problem.
However, slowing Internet speeds aren’t just an issue for the casual user. Over our years of troubleshooting thousands of corporate and other commercial links, a recurring issue has been customers not getting their full-advertised bandwidth from their upstream provider. Some customers are aware something is amiss from examining bandwidth reports on their routers and some of these problems we stumble upon while troubleshooting network congestion issues.
But, what if you have a shared, busy corporate Internet connection such as this — with hundreds or thousands of users on the link at one time? Should a traditional speed test be the first place to turn? In this situation, the answer is “no.” Running a speed test under these conditions is neither meaningful nor useful.
Let me explain.
The problem starts with the overall design and process of the speed test itself. Speed tests usually run short duration files. For example, a 10-megabit file sent over a hundred-megabit link might complete in 0.1 seconds, reporting the link speed to the operator at 100 megabits. However, statistically this is just a snapshot of one very small moment in time and is of little value when the demands on a network are constantly changing. Furthermore, with this type of test, the link must be free of active users, which is nearly impossible when you have an entire office, for example, accessing the network at once.
On these larger shared links, the true speed can only be measured during peak times with users accessing a wide variety of applications persistently over a significant period. But, there is no easily controlled Web speed test site that can measure this type of performance on your link.
Yes, a sophisticated IT administrator can run reports and see trends and make assumptions. And many do. Yet, for some businesses, this isn’t practical.
For this reason, we’ve introduced the NetEqualizer Speed Test Utility.
How Does the NetEqualizer Speed Test Utility Work?
The NetEqualizer Speed Test Utility is an intelligent tool embedded in your NetEqualizer that can be activated from your GUI. On high-traffic networks, there is always a busy hour background load on the link – a baseline if you will. When you set up the speed test tool, you simply tell the NetEqualizer some basics about your network, including:
- Link Speed
- Number of Users
- Busy Hours
After turning the tool on, it will keep track of your network’s bandwidth usage. If your usage drops below expected levels, it will present a mild warning on the GUI screen that your bandwidth may be compromised and give an explanation of the deviation. The operator can also be notified by e-mail.
This set up allows bandwidth to be monitored without having to depend on unreliable speed tests or run time-consuming reports, allowing the problem to be more quickly identified and addressed.
For more information about the NetEqualizer Speed Test Utility, contact APconnections at firstname.lastname@example.org.