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Most people feel the need to test how fast their broadband modem is at downloading or uploading. To answer this need, several speed testing sites have sprung up. The problem is, none of these tests measure the actual speed of your internet connection: what they measure is the bandwidth between your modem and the test site itself, subject to a maximum cut-off at the speed of the modem. The bandwidth between two points on the Internet is determined by the hop in the path which has the least available spare capacity, and if that limiting bandwidth is less than that of the modem, then that is the reading that the speed test will return. This figure might or might not be typical of speeds you could expect to see from other sites, or at other times, depending on where and when the bottleneck is.

If you are fortunate enough to choose a test site where the available free bandwidth on all hops is greater than the speed of your modem, then this test site will indeed measure the speed of your internet connection, which is then the limiting bottleneck.

One of the most easy to use speed test pages is located at fast.com Hosted by Netflix, it is devoid of advertising, garish colors, and confusing displays. In the center of the window is displayed your download speed. That’s it!

One more thing: If you are on Bendbroadband, you want to use this (speedtest.bendbroadband.com) first, and if your on Qwest you want to use this (speedtest.qwest.net) first. Why? Instead of testing the connection between your computer and my web site, you're testing the capacity of your internet connection between your computer and your internet provider. For instance, when I test from my home (which is on Bendbroadband) it takes 2 hops to the Bendbroadband speed test site, with a download speed of 40.66 Mbps and a upload speed of 1.51 Mbps. When I run the test from my web site, it takes 6 hops and I get 39.63 down and 1.45 up. When I run the test from a site in Portland, it takes 10 hops and I get 29.46 down and 1.48 up. Seattle? 7 hops, 26.16 down, .98 up.

Huh. Interesting.

That being said, this test, and the entire website, is hosted at BendTel located in Bend, Oregon.