By now you probably know that we’re only talking about the wireless routers’ theoretical maximum speeds. That’s a good thing to know but how can you test your real connection speed?
First of all let’s split it up into to categories: your Internet speed (which is what you’re most likely looking for) and your local network speed. Since most of you are probably more interested in setting up a connection to the Internet rather than establishing a highly functional local network I’m going to focus on that. For the local network there are other great in-depth resources available online.
Internet connection speed
There is one rather obvious approach. Just look on the number of bars on your connected computer (on Windows you can find them at the bottom right corner/menu of your taskbar).But that’s not what we’re looking for, right? This only shows you the signal strength your computer gets from the home router but not the actual speed.
Now on Windows 8 you can right-click on this bar-icon and open your Network and Sharing Center. On the following screen click on your Wifi network. This will open another small windows where you can see various information about your network status including your wireless connetion speed.
On Windows Vista and 7 the process is similar. Left-click on the bar-icon in the bottom right corner. A small window showing you a list of accessible networks including the one you’re connected to will open. At the bottom of this menu click on “Open Network and Sharing Center” to …uhm… open the Network and Sharing Center! From this point on it’s the same: click on your connection in the newly opened window and then you’ll see information ike your Internet speed.
This information is highly inaccurate though as it only shows the connection between your router and the computer’s wireless adapter not the actual speed when you actually do stuff like downloading or gaming.
There is another easy method to do the above. Visit the website Speedtest. On this page click on “Begin Test”. Now you’ll just have to wait a bit (probably not even one minute) for the test to finish. Afterwards you get a couple of stats about your wireless connection.
- Download speed – How fast you can download data to your computer
- Upload speed – How fast you can upload data to the Internet
- Ping – basically the “reaction time” of your connection; it measures how long it takes for your connection to get a response after sending a digital request
Now that you know how to test your speed why don’t you try it out with your old router? If you’re not happy with what you see you can always browse through the Best Wireless Routers page on this site and finally get an upgrade to your wireless network!