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Curious about difference in speed tests

JPN
Grafter
Posts: 63
Thanks: 9
Registered: 19-12-2013

Curious about difference in speed tests

I run a speed test every now and then, and of late some of the speedtest.net results have been quite low (30odd Mb/s on an 80/20 FTTC line).    After one suprisingly low result, I did a BTW test, and that came out up in the 70's. 
Today, having a few spare minutes, I did a few back-to-back tests.  Within a 5min window, I ran a speedtest.net test, then a BTW, then another speedtest.net and a final BTW.
Results were:
speedtest.net:  50down, 18.5up  21ms ping
BTW:                    72.05        13.6    41
Speedtest.net    47.9          18.36  21
BTW                      71.48        13.59  40
Why is there such a difference between these tests.  I assume they're measuring in different ways, where do they differ?
[I don't have a particular problem with the speed results - for my use the fibre speed/capacity is, as Rolls used to say of the power output of their cars, 'more than adequate'. ]
9 REPLIES
JTaylor
Grafter
Posts: 93
Registered: 18-08-2014

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

Hi JPN
Speedtest.net seems to be your common denominator here!
Maybe try a test at http://speedof.me as it's HTML5 based and runs on all devices.
See how these compare with BTW and speedtest.net.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,686
Thanks: 910
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest.html is about the best test going as it does single and multiple threads and gives a graph which shows if speeds are varying during the test.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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goldenfibre
Aspiring Pro
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Registered: 01-06-2010

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

Quote from: Jack
Maybe try a test at http://speedof.me as it's HTML5 based and runs on all devices.

These are not a good one. You better off test here: http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest.html?utm_source=mainsite&utm_medium=navigation&utm_campaign=...
JPN
Grafter
Posts: 63
Thanks: 9
Registered: 19-12-2013

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

Thanks for the various replys.  I ran a test on each of the four suggested, again one after the other in quick succession, and found this:
Speed of me:  13.04 down      8.7 up          35 ping
BTW                  75.6                    14.5              27
Speedtest. net  65.8                    18.55          20
TBB                      73.71                18.2            32
all different, some  remarkably so.  Clearly each test is looking at something different, it would be interesting to know the differences. 
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,880
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

This is not an exact science.  All,that is comparable is one test to another using the same speed test service.
There are many factors which can impact a speed test from moment to moment...
- What is happening on your PC
- What is happening on your LAN
- What is happening on your cable bundle to cabinet / exchange - especially in respect of FTTC
- Exchange capacity / congestion
- Back haul capacity
- PlusNET gateway performance
- Peering partner links across the internet
- Service platforms of the speed test provider
Also add to that the different technology stacks used by different test providers and the answer to your question is far from simple.  Best approach though is to stick to the reputable and recommended speed test providers as referenced above - BT Wholesale removes a lot of the infrastructure and Think boradband is highly respected.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,109
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

I think the BT Wholesale speedtest removes very little of the infrastructure if you're accessing it via your usual Internet connection like any other website.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,880
Thanks: 3,243
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

May be - I rather thought that PlusNET back to BT Wholesale would avoid level 3 peering partners...?
It is though a recognised bench mark and is the only one accepted for diagnostic purposes.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,109
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

Avoiding Level3 removes about 1 item from your list.
The BTWholesale speedtest is the only one that can log the result on the BTWholesale's systems. That's why it's required for reporting speed faults.
Personally I think all speed testers are pretty pointless, why not just find something to report the speed your downloads or whatever are running at instead?
goldenfibre
Aspiring Pro
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Re: Curious about difference in speed tests

@ ejs I do found thinkbroadband speedtest the best overall.