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Speed test vs actual file download speed


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I took the testmy.net download speed test and scored 1.4MBS - which is what I would expect using the particular hughes.net plan that I am on.  However, when downloading files - even large ones so I cam watch the speed variance as it downloads - I customarily average about 130KBPS as reported by my browser (Firefox 17.0)  The time to completion of the download is consistent with that.  This is about a tenth of the measured speed on the test.  Other online tests I have used have given me approximately the same result - about 1.1MBPS.

I have computer expertise in some areas but I have to admit I do not understand much about this speed topic amd the net protocalls that control it.  Can someone explain why actual file downloads are not proceding at at least 1MBPS?  Is this expected behavior, or is there something I can fix to bring up the file download speed and the net browsing speed as well (I would expect them to be related)?

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Hi aTortle,
 First thing that comes to mind would be multi threading from the browser.
With Firefox Type about:config into your address bar and then use search for the following:


Adjust them at low increments and test.


Using Internet Explorer 10

To increase the number of files that you can download at one time to 10, follow these steps:

    Start Registry Editor.
    Locate the following key in the registry:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings
    On the Edit menu, point to New, click DWORD Value, and then add the following registry values:

 Value name: MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server
    Value data: 10
    Base: Decimal

    Value Name: MaxConnectionsPerServer
    Value data: 10
    Base: Decimal

Try these if you have not already, see what the results are. If these do not make any difference we can look further.

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Ok Mudmanc4,


I changed those values for Firefox as follows:

network.http.max-connections                                            256        356        500
.http.max-connections-per-server                            8            15          30   
.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy            10           20          50
The first column contains the original values.

Changing these made no difference; the usual download speed for a file is still about 150KBPS.


It has been this way for a long time and I never looked into it before.  Should file download speeds be consistent with the 1.1MBPS results from the speed test here and elsewhere?




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To clarify further:

Look at this page:  http://mobroadbandnow.com/broadband-101/broadband-speeds/


The second table shows the time it takes to download a file for different connections speeds.  When I observe the entry for speeds 768K to  1.5M (which is about where I test)  the time for a 4MB file is 46 seconds - which is about what happens when I download that size file.  Shouldn't that be closer to 4 seconds?  There is something I don't understand.  Shouldn't a speed of 1MB/sec download a 4 MB file in 4 to 5 seconds?  What am I missing?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi aTortle, 


First, you are rigth when you say that if you have a 1MB/sec download speed it would take 4 to 5 seconds to download a 4MB file, but that is if you have 1MB/s. When you do this test you are downloading from a particular server, that doesn't mean you will have 1MB/s from all servers.

For example, in my case I have done this test agains the servers in London and Texas in London i got an average Download speed of 51,6Mbps=6,45MB/sec and in Texas 24,9Mbps=3,11MB/sec. The server in London is closer to me than the Texas server, so when I do the test, the results are better.


The download speed varies with many factors, the location of the server, the network, the links it goes through...  The download speed will be as fast as the slowest link in its path. Also some download site have limits to the download speed the user can have so they don't saturate their servers. For example, from rapidgator in my case I only got 50KB even if i have a faster connection.


I hope that this had helped you.


P.D. Sorry if my English is bad, is not my  native language

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It's funny you say that, because I test my connection fairly often, typically once or twice a week, sometimes more, and it usually has the same result: About 45-55Mbps, so 5.625-6.875MB/s. Anytime I download data from MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) I end up seeing about 2MB/s. Sometimes it spikes as high as 3MB/s. Which again, is dependent on the actual server at that point, or the peering to that server.

The only issue I really ever have with Testmy.net, is that it doesn't have as many local servers as I would like. Ideally I would prefer a server near Redmond, Washington, as that is where most of my major traffic goes. The only issued is that I can't trace to MSDN, because my requests are blocked after the 10th hop. (Which is one of the MSN nodes.)



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