Bandwidth Test

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What Does Bandwidth Test Mean?

A bandwidth test measures the maximum bandwidth of a network or an internet connection. The figure obtained from the bandwidth test is usually represented in megabytes per second or kilobytes per second. Bandwidth test results could vary from time to time, and depend on many factors. However, it can give a theoretical figure for an average bandwidth speed for any network or internet connection.


Techopedia Explains Bandwidth Test

Many bandwidth test applications are hosted online and most of them are free. Most of the bandwidth test applications also display graphs and diagrams for users to better understand the test results.

Bandwidth tests are dependent on factors such as:

  • Noise on data lines
  • Internet traffic
  • Size of the file(s) used in the test
  • Number of files used in the test
  • Variable propagation delays
  • Activities such as thunderstorms
  • Demand load on the test server at the point of testing

A bandwidth test operates by sending one or more files of known sizes over the network to the computer. It then measures the time needed for the files to download successfully at the other end. With this, it obtains a figure for representing the data speed between the points. It is often recommended to conduct three or more bandwidth tests at different intervals to get a reasonable estimate of the bandwidth.

The main benefit associated with bandwidth test is that it can determine the strength of the network or internet connection. It also gives an estimation of the stability of the network or internet connection.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.