Thanks for the reply! I'm continuing on in my investigation....My network looks like this:
ISP is connected to my own cable modem, which is connected to a Netgear R6400 wifi router. That in turn is connected to a powerline adapter (some Linksys model), which pairs with the other powerline adapter upstairs. That adapter is plugged into an 8-port TP-Link switch, to which my streaming devices are plugged into. Generally everything has been good, other than the occasional freeze in Netflix or Amazon which led me down this journey in the first place!
Wifi seems to be alright, although I'm thinking something may be up with my phone on that front - a download test from my phone will show drastically slower results than multiple other devices on wifi, so that may be something else or related or something...I haven't had time to dig into that further.
Anyway, since my last post I've run a couple of other tests. First, I hooked a dedicated laptop up to the upstairs switch (that was going through the powerline adapters) and it looked like the image below. I ran 500 up and down tests, every 15 minutes:
<a href="https://testmy.net/stats/?t=u&l=1000&z=7&q=petertirrell">?t=u&l=1000&z=7&q=petertirrell's Speed Test Results</a><iframe src="https://testmy.net/stats/?t=u&l=1000&z=7&q=petertirrell&f=1" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="380" width="100%"></iframe>
Since then, I moved the laptop down to hook directly into the router, and am running the same test:
<a href="https://testmy.net/stats/?t=u&l=1000&z=6&q=petertirrell">?t=u&l=1000&z=6&q=petertirrell's Speed Test Results</a><iframe src="https://testmy.net/stats/?t=u&l=1000&z=6&q=petertirrell&f=1" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="380" width="100%"></iframe>
Interestingly, I see what I assume is the powerline link causing the average to be about 10Mbps less than when hooked right to the router. I do still see a lot of intermittent dropoffs, although I'm not sure if there are fewer or not. Once it's complete I want to compare the two and see if at least the direct router connection is more "stable" or has fewer drops. But it doe still seem to be very spiky.
Beyond that what I'd like to do is run a similar test directly hooked up to the modem - that's a little more tricky since I can't kill our internet for a week like these were running. I'm going to try and run it overnight or see if there's a period we'll be gone for a while. I'd also like to run a shorter test, but maybe every 5 minutes. If I'm seeing so many intermittent drops in speed when testing at 15 minute intervals it makes me wonder what it looks like more granular or how long those periods are actually lasting.