Eventually most people wonder why their internet is again trickling packets at the speed of a 1950’s move plot. The unfortunate downside of internet connectivity slowdowns gets the best of us at times.
Sometimes it is our provider at fault, other times it is our provider’s upstream at fault.
As an end customer you need to determine these shortcomings yourself when seeking support help. The usual customer support routine often involves multiple reboots of your modem and lots of wasted time. The process leaves a lot to be desired. If you are having a problem with a VPS or dedicated server the problems can be much more difficult to debug and resolve.
So let’s learn how to debug your slow internet connectivity problem a bit with a simple speed test site and tool for those running Linux.
#1 Know your Package Speeds
Every home internet package includes at least two speeds indicating the maximum throughput your service has been provisioned to achieve. Similarly, a VPS or dedicated server will have some sort of bandwidth speed promise. With home internet one speed will be the upload speed, or how fast you can send data from your computer up to the internet. The other speed will be your download speed, or how fast you can get data from the internet down to your computer.
Usually the download speed is much faster than the upload speed.
Look at your internet service details from your monthly invoice and see what package you have and what the advertised speeds are.
#2 Run Multiple Online Speed Tests
You want to get most of your advertised internet throughput speeds. It is not reasonable to achieve or exceed advertised speeds for any extended duration.
The most popular speed test site online remains Speedtest.net. Their site requires Adobe Flash to perform tests in your browser. They have Apps available for the most common mobile platforms: http://www.speedtest.net/mobile.
Perhaps you are a Linux user, or dislike Flash, or want to test your VPS or other non-graphic based server?
(This tool will work in any environment where Python is or can be installed)
In Debian / Ubuntu and derivatives:
apt-get install python
wget -O speedtest-cli https://raw.github.com/sivel/speedtest-cli/master/speedtest_cli.py chmod +x speedtest-cli
To run speedtest-cli:
How do your speeds look? Seem slow? Run the test several times and over several hours if possible to rule out LAN traffic or intermittent blips.
Still slow? Time to contact your ISP then.
#3 Contact Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
When contacting your ISP or hosting provider about slow speeds you should have your speedtest-cli output on hand. Show them the test location used (which is automatically picked from a nearby test location), and throughput achieved which should help them debug problems. They might ask you to perform other tests to other network test points. If so see how to do that below.
It’s that simple to get started debugging issues with slow throughput. There are a multitude of issues that contribute to slow connectivity. These include hardware misconfiguration, bad physical connections, bad software settings, etc.
Speedtest-cli has some additional features that might prove helpful.
List all the active testing locations:
./speedtest-cli –list | more
Select a specific testing point to perform a test with:
./speedtest-cli –server 1344