If you want to solve a slow internet problem, a good place to start is checking that your Wi-Fi is working properly. Here’s how to do it.
It’s very difficult to find an application that will test how fast your Wi-Fi is. Most ‘network’ testers are actually broadband or internet speed testers who only tell you how fast your connection is to your ISP.
Given that in most cases, internet speeds are slower than wireless connection speeds between, say, your cellphone and your router, the test results aren’t very useful if what you want to know is how fast your Wi-Fi is.
But there are several ways to test Wi-Fi speed, which we will explain below.
Testing the speed is useful for several reasons:
- This tells you how fast a particular device is connected
- This tells you how fast your Wi-Fi is in various places in your home
- Being able to confirm or eliminate Wi-Fi is a problem with a slow internet connection
How to test Wi-Fi speed with the application
As mentioned, there are many applications that claim to test Wi-Fi speed. I have not installed and tested everything. But I have tried many that, in fact, can only tell me how fast my internet is. That’s not Wi-Fi speed. That’s internet speed, and it’s a very different thing.
This refers to the connection speed between my ISP and my home. If you want to test it.
Here, the mission is to find out the connection speed between your router – or any device that supplies Wi-Fi in your home – to Wi-Fi devices such as phones, laptops or tablets.
The application you need is called the WiFi Speed Test by Zoltan Pallagi. It will also test your internet speed if you want it. Unfortunately, this is only available for Android, not iOS.
Before starting, make sure your phone is connected to the Wi-Fi network that you want to test. That might sound obvious, but you might want to test 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks if your router broadcasts as a separate network.
Launch the application and swipe right to the test screen. You will see two switches to the bottom: the WiFi test and the Internet test.
Repeat the test in a different room, or at a different distance from your router to compare speeds. Results are saved so you can view them later under the RESULTS TEST tab.
Indeed, this is not a pretty application, but it does get the job done.
How fast should my Wi-Fi be?
Well, don’t expect that to be the speed plastered on your router box. They are ‘AC1200’ and similar standards are theoretical maximums and in the real world, with disturbances and obstacles such as walls, floors, doors and windows on the street, usually much lower.
However, as long as the results are faster than your internet connection speed, then you should be fine. You never want your Wi-Fi speed to be slower, and you certainly don’t want your Wi-Fi speed to be slower than about 20Mbps (megabits per second)
Streaming HD video from the internet usually requires a minimum of around 2.5Mbps, and it jumps to around 40Mbps for UHD (4K).
Even old school 802.11n Wi-Fi should be faster than this, and a more modern 802.11ac router will give you between around 200 and 600Mbps. Don’t forget that your speed will be limited by the slowest device, be it your cellphone or router. So, even if you are right next to the router when running the test, where you will get the fastest speed, it will be limited if your cellphone only has 802.11n Wi-Fi but your router is the new Wi. -Fi 6 devices.
If you are wondering how it compares to megabytes per second, enough for your results to 8.
How can I test Wi-Fi speed on Windows?
If you don’t have an Android phone or specifically want to test your laptop’s Wi-Fi speed, type Control Panel into the Windows 10 search bar.
Click on Control Panel then go to Network and Internet> Network and Sharing Center> Change adapter settings.
Double click on the Wi-Fi connection from the list (it should be clear which one it is) and in the window that opens will see a field called Speed. The number next to this will fluctuate, but it should be a good indicator of how fast the connection is to your router.
For more precise testing, have a second laptop or PC connected to your router with a network cable and copy the files from your laptop to the PC, determine how long it will take. You must enable sharing to ‘see’ another PC or laptop from the laptop that you want to test. This is under the Network and Sharing Center> Advanced sharing settings.
I usually use 500MB video files for testing, and if you want to be more scientific than using Windows File Explorer to copy files, use the command prompt and the xcopy command.
Now use the correct file size in MB and divide by the number of seconds it takes to copy and you have your Wi-Fi speed in MB / s. Multiply by eight to get numbers in megabits per second.
For example: 500 ÷ 24 = 20.83 MB / s. 20.83 x 8 = 166.7Mb / s.
You might also want to know how to test your laptop battery.