Beginner's Area
Overview
Getting started
Understanding the results
Known problems
Enabling JavaScript
 
Related Links
Disclaimer

Beginner's Area

Overview

The modem speed test pages are designed for, and tested on, ordinary analogue dial-up modems, and ISDN modems. Because of JavaScript restrictions, results of tests for other 'high speed' modems, such as, cable modems and xDSL modems may be in-accurate.

All the tests measure the time taken to download a test file from its server, and report the time taken in seconds, and average throughput in characters per second (cps), which is roughly equivalent to bytes per second.

Getting started

Testing your speed is as simple as choosing a test, and clicking the hyperlink to the test.

If you have an ordinary analogue modem, try the 56K test.

Once the graphic has been downloaded a chart indicating your average throughput, compared to typical results, is presented to you.

Understanding the results

Ideally, your results will be similar to results that I have achieved. You should be aware of what initial connection speed your modem has negotiated with your ISP's modem. If your average throughput is lower than you expect, try the test a few times, noting the results. Also try the tests at an off-peak period, such as late at night, since the tests are affected by Internet congestion.

Let's assume that you know your initial connection speed is 44Kbps.

  • Results constantly in the region of 5,000 cps would indicate good bandwidth, with little sign of congestion.
  • Results varying from 2,000cps to 5,000cps might indicate that although the modem to modem connection may be fine, congestion exists between your ISP's point-of-presence and the test site. Testing at an off-peak time should give bettter results in this case.
  • Results that are usually less than 1000cps, suggest that line conditions are poor. Perhaps there is a fault on the line, where the modem initially connects at 44,000bps, but re-negotiates the connection to a much lower speed. Bear in mind that the connection speed indicated by your dial-up software is your initial connection speed and will not change. It is also possible that your modem is configured in-correctly, and error control is not been used for the call.

Now we will assume that you don't know the inital or current connection speed.

  • To guess the connection, multiply the best throughput result by 8.25. So a user whose results are constantly in the region of 3,000cps could guess that the connection speed is 26.4Kbps or 28,800bps. An answer in the FAQs page relates to cases similar to this.

Known problems

The tests are known to give in-accurate results on Internet Explorer 3, from the main test site on the homepage.eircom.net server. This may be a "local" problem (in Ireland), and feedback from IE 3 users would be appreciated.

Because different browsers interpret the JavaScript scripting code in different ways, some browsers, Opera and WebTV, for example, give totally inaccurate results, or do not display the pages at all. The tests have been tested on various versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer on Windows 95.

Use of your browsers Back button is eratic, as it simply tries to repeat the test by loading from the cache.

The following table is loosely based on information received by Email.

Browser Win 3.x Win 95/98 Win NT Mac Unix
Internet Explorer 2.1          
Internet Explorer 3 (16 bit)      
Internet Explorer 4    
Internet Explorer 5        
Netscape Navigator 2          
Netscape Navigator 3        
Netscape Navigator 4        
Opera        
WebTV        
AOL        

Table 2

Enabling JavaScript

To Enable JavaScript:

Netscape Navigator 3.x

  1. Go to "Options | Network Preferences..." from the main menu
  2. Change to the "Languages" tab
  3. Make sure "Enable JavaScript" check box is checked
  4. Restart the browser

Netscape Communicator 4.x

  1. Go to "Edit | Preferences..." from the main menu
  2. Select "Advanced" panel
  3. Make sure "Enable JavaScript" check box is checked.
  4. Restart the browser

Internet Explorer 3.x

  1. Go to "View | Options..." from the main menu
  2. Change to the "Security" tab
  3. Make sure "Run ActiveX scripts" check box is checked
  4. Restart the browser

Internet Explorer 4.x

  1. Go to "View | Internet Options..." from the main menu
  2. Change to the "Security" tab
  3. Select "Custom" and click on the "Settings..." button
  4. Make sure "Enable" is selected under "Active scripting" (See figure 1)
  5. Restart the browser

Figure 1

Internet Explorer 5.x

  1. Go to "Tools | Internet Options..." from the main menu
  2. Change to the "Security" tab
  3. Select the "Internet Zone" and click on the "Custom Level..." button
  4. Make sure "Enabled" is selected under "Active Scripting" (See figure 1)
  5. Restart the browser

Note: Simply reloading the page, rather than restarting the browser, may be sufficient for some browser versions.


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