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Why are Flash Internet Speed tests inaccurate?

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Mine is likely a dumb question... Why are Flash Internet tests inaccurate? I do not doubt they are. Right now, several such tests claim my connection down is 80-95 Mbps and testmy.net is showing ~40 Mbps. Judging from video streaming, I believe the 40 Mbps. And so, my question - why are the Flash tests so wildly inaccurate? Given your experience, I suspect you know the answer.

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No question is a dumb question. We're here to help. Welcome to TestMy.net!

Short answer: I don't know, they just are. At least you know where to test from now on.

Super long answer:

This issue is so common it's not even funny. Ask anyone here, it's seriously getting ridiculous. I'm very happy that you're not blaming me, most people see the difference and automatically blame TMN. Gets really old.

I see that even your multithread results are lower than what you see on the flash tests. Since you've been using multithread I assume that you have an idea of the difference between that and my classic download test. You have a much better chance of pulling your full bandwidth with a multithread test. Getting those similar low results between both test types shows me that you're limited to those speeds.

Looking into your results I see...

post-2-0-19100800-1412287337_thumb.png
https://testmy.net/stats/?&t=u&d=09302014&x=7&l=500&q=jrtcjrjr

Hummm, so under the right circumstance you're getting nearly 80 Mbps. (cool, we have a Mac fan. Explains why you didn't shoot the messenger.)
post-2-0-12951000-1412287355_thumb.png

You've only had results close to that good 3 times... out of 500 tests. :huh:

Do you have anything else going across your network? How many computers are you running on this WOW connection? Are you using wifi? ... before we complain to your provider we need to make sure that it's not an issue inside your home. Let me know more about what you have going on. Modem and router model numbers can help too.

Here's an example...

I have a NetGear Nighthawk paired with Motorola Surfboard SB6120. Driving two computers on wifi, 1 computer wired, 2 streaming media players and up to 10 additional mobile devices at any time. Wifi router is centrally located in the home and away from other electronics.


I have a new test that you probably haven't tried yet. I call it Mercury.

Check out my result to National Geographic's website. (test natgeo)

(during the test)
post-2-0-18495800-1412287390_thumb.png

(true result, accounting for everything.)
post-2-0-98907200-1412287388_thumb.png

Test around to websites you normally visit. More ammunition to take to your provider, especially if you establish baselines before hand, "I tested to the same websites before and was getting 80 Mbps, now I'm only getting 40 Mbps. These are websites I normally visit, I don't care what YOUR speed test says!" :smiley: -- with Mercury on right servers I can peg my connection harder than ever before... I'm not the only one. If your connection, computer and network are all running right you should be able to as well.

Definitely not a dumb question.

To be honest, I don't know or care about how the other guys do it. It's proven daily to me that TMN works when others don't. When there are major issues, most other tests don't seem to notice. I can only speculate as to why that is and go off what I've read [ookla adjusts]. I try to just focus on my own development not on figuring out how other people are doing it, wrong. Again, at least you know where to test from now on.

:headbang: hope to see you around for a long time to come.

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I do have a busy and complex home network. (That is my excuse for running so many tests. I have tried by the process of elimination to identify the home grown problems.) I have also tried using a java based Internet speed test. It was closer in line with testmy.net than the many Flash based tools.

 

I have discovered a uncovered splice in the inbound cable a foot from the house. I have always been aware that Internet speed suffered on rainy days, like today. The test scores today are 15-20% lower than what I received before the rain came. Oddly, the rain seems to have no impact on the OOKLA Flash based test scores.

 

Thank you for your response. I will try the MercurY test.

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I have discovered a uncovered splice in the inbound cable a foot from the house. I have always been aware that Internet speed suffered on rainy days, like today. The test scores today are 15-20% lower than what I received before the rain came.

 

Post a picture of this splice.  And any other connections or splitters you see between the street and your modem.  Look closely at fittings and pay attention for kinks.  Coax cable must maintain it's impedance or the signal actually reflects within the cable (wiki cable impedance).  Meaning that it can't take sharp turns.

 

I have a feeling (when you mention splice and that it's worse when it rains) that your cable is exposed to the elements.  Never a good thing.  And if this 'splice' is between the pedestal (the box at the street) and your house, they should replace the entire drop in my opinion.  When I was a cable tech I would NEVER splice a drop.  Either called in a conduit drop or pulled out my pick axe and started digging.  No matter how good the splice is you're guaranteed to lose at the least 1 dB.  And then if that splice is unprotected it will degrade at a much faster rate than the coax....... if left long enough the corrosion bleeds into the line.  I've cored a bunch of cables to inspect the damage.  Sometimes corrosion caused from an exposed splice can run 10+ feet along the cable, both directions.  That's FAR from ideal.  Especially for Internet and DTV since those higher frequencies travels more on the outside of the core of the cable, the core should be mirror copper finish.  Worst one I've ever seen ran so far down the cable I gave up trying to find where it ended.  "Wow, surprised this guys Internet works at all right now." -- new drop and he had the fastest connection in the neighborhood. 

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Sorry I haven't been able to post a picture of the cable... I know there is a video camera around here somewhere.

 

Related comment about the cable splice... Our weather has improved, the sun is out, and my D/L speed is back in the ~50-55 Mbps range as compared to wet conditions when it drops to ~25-40 mbps. That is with all the toys and devices connected and with what I might call a normal load. This morning I put the problem cable area under shelter and as we expect some rain tomorrow, I should be able to tell if the problem is a poor fitting.

 

I do see recurring patterns in D/L throughput. More often than not when running a normal test the throughput drops significantly at about 5 to 5-1/2 seconds into the download, then picks back up. I also ran a few 100 MB and 200 MB D/L tests and in each saw a pattern of speed ramping up to ~50-55 Mbps and then dropping after about 5-7 seconds and then holding steady at a hair under 40 Mbps for the test duration.

 

Being the suspicious type, I wonder if the ISP throttles back at a point where they think most speed tests are completed. Using the ISPs OOKLA speed test my connection 'appears' to get near 100 Mbps on D/L and I am convinced that is not true. If it were true I do not think I would ever see a pause when streaming video, certainly not to the extent where the video provider is recommending dropping down in quality.

 

I've not mentioned it before but I do like your site. I understand why the ISP wants to judge speed only on their WAN as it is what they can directly control. But, you make the correct assumption in stating we buy Internet service for the peer to peer functionality/capability. 

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I started using Testmy.net in 2005 I think it was (though my dad was using it some time before then) and it's had it's ups and downs. Not going to say it's perfect, but I do prefer it over Ookla tests, simply because I hate Flash. (Java as well but that's not to do with Ookla or Testmy.net.)

This site also indicates issues you may not immediately suspect. Your OS can have a significant impact on your speed. I was pulling ~30-35Mbps down and ~7-8Mbps up when I got my new Comcast connection, whereas Ookla showed me at ~45-55Mbps down and ~10-12Mbps up. Ran the TCP Optimizer and all of a sudden my Testmy.net speeds were ~40-50Mbps down and ~9-11Mbps up. Because it uses a raw TCP connection it demonstrates the entire structure (all 7 OSI layers, or 4 TCP/IP layers) of your browsers typical internet connection speed. Ookla simulates a perfect world where you have a perfect connection and no browser/configuration/OS bugs.

Ookla is very capable at showing your theorhetical maximum, however Testmy.net is going to show you your typical expected throughput, which in my opinion is much more important.

Thanks,

EBrown

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You have my thanks. Using testmy.net I have been able to isolate recurring problems with my Internet connection. This was something I could not accomplish using the more common FLASH based Internet speed test tools that are so commonly used. 

 

I imagine there may be other small issues but the big problem of inconsistency was identified as a cable splice adding a couple feet of coax cable on the end of the line drop to my house. As I had reported, the splice was left exposed to the environment and when weather conditions were poor (wind and rain), my connections suffered with a 15 - 40% degradation. I applied a temporary weather proofing over the spliced area and today, with wind a rain, I have been able to maintain a consistent D/L speed.

 

Again, thank you. This is a good and useful tool.

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You have my thanks. Using testmy.net I have been able to isolate recurring problems with my Internet connection. This was something I could not accomplish using the more common FLASH based Internet speed test tools that are so commonly used. 

 

I imagine there may be other small issues but the big problem of inconsistency was identified as a cable splice adding a couple feet of coax cable on the end of the line drop to my house. As I had reported, the splice was left exposed to the environment and when weather conditions were poor (wind and rain), my connections suffered with a 15 - 40% degradation. I applied a temporary weather proofing over the spliced area and today, with wind a rain, I have been able to maintain a consistent D/L speed.

 

Again, thank you. This is a good and useful tool.

 

I'm happy that you've positively identified the problem.  In my opinion you should use that temporary weather proofing as just that... temporary.  If you want the best service the drop needs to be replaced, with no splices.  What worries me is that without weather proofing you're seeing an issue... meaning that water is getting in, somewhere.  It may work better when its dry but too late... it's been exposed.  It will corrode and more issues will follow.  Get that drop replaced and make sure they do it right this time.

 

It may already be corroded, your service may improve further once the drop is replaced.

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I am watching for degradation in throughput. Right now, my throughput is usually 10-15% above my plan rate when auto testing and 2.5-5% above plan when testing large files - when I have no other devices/people taxing the system... Trying to convince any of the ISP techies that I have a problem (or potential problem) is a mountain not worth climbing, yet. 

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