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How to check Internet connection speed? Using Bandwidth meters!

Today I was checking out the Airtel Mobile Office GPRS Internet Connection and even though the actual browsing speed seemed to be good on my laptop, I decided to check out the speed at which data was actually transfered (the connection status showed 115.2 Kbps). I usually use CNET Bandwidth meter Speed Test, but today I decided to do a research and find out about other Bandwidth meters to check internet connection speed.

I did a Google search for bandwidth meter and CNET Bandwidth meter appeared on top of the search results (Sponsored Link not included). Others following CNET Bandwidth meter were gambitdesign.com, 2wire.com, Club Polycom, ZDNet Internet Services. While gambitdesign.com and 2wire.com took ages to load the initialmeter page itself, ZDNet uses CNET Internet Services Bandwidth Meter hence not much difference between the two.

I tried the CNET Bandwidth meter speed test from both the US and CNET Asia (Singapore based) site and was shocked to see the difference between the two results. The tests were conducted in immediate succession but showed a difference of almost 60%!

Interestingly I found two Bandwidth meter add-on extensions for Mozilla Firefox from GoToMyHelp.

One of them called "Bandwidth Meter" runs on any operating system whereas the other called "Broadband Speed Test and Diagnostics" runs only on Windows but has advanced diagnostics features. Once you install these add-ons, you can check your public ip, domain, download and upload speeds anytime by selecting Bandwidth Meter or Broadband Speed Test and Diagnostics from the Tools menu.

Screenshot of Broadband Meter
Broadband Speed Test and Diagnostics additionally provides a couple of diagnostic tests to troubleshoot and isolate problems with the NIC card, local gateway, DHCP server, DNS server or a web site. It also displays information like private IP address, MAC address, default gateway, DNS server, DHCP server, routing table, ARP table and active connections from right within the Mozilla Firefox browser which would otherwise be available only through the command prompt.

Screenshot of Broadband Speed Test and Diagnostics
There wasn't much difference between the results of CNET Bandwidth meters' speed test and the Firefox add-ons'; however, they were not very similar too. It can actually never be the same over time due to fluctuations in traffic. All you have to do is take the test a few times and average out the speed or just take the test at different times of the day for a few days and analyze your connection speed.

Update: Oookla.com provides a very attractive and user friendly speed test that you can integrate into your website. You can try out the speed test here.
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