Internet speed is what determines the efficiency of the internet service you can enjoy. For instance, the download speed and the upload speed will determine the time it will take for you to access what you’re looking for. There are many technical words relating the internet use, which can be challenging to understand. Some of these terms are fiber, gigabit, Mbps, and broadband.

This easy to follow guide is purposely compiled to guide and enable you to understand all these internet speed terms with ease. Internet Speed; Download vs. upload speed:

  • Why Is It Important?
  • What’s the difference?

Why is it important to test your internet speed?

Comparing your internet speed with the suggestion given by internet services such as Netflix and the Hulu can help you get the most out of the online stay. It is therefore recommended to know your internet speed so that you can have a pleasant experience with the internet. Internet speed is very crucial when performing any activity that requires you to use the internet.

Regular speed testing is recommended so as you can boost the speed of your internet connection. By knowing the rate of your internment connection, it also means getting access to the best deals available on the internet. For instance, your internet service provider can advertise great deals such as free 4G internet connection. Thus you have to test your internet speed to determine if you can get such offers. You will need a reference point to measure the rate being offered to know if it’s faster or slower than your current internet connection.

Internet speed test is a measure of speed of your device is capable of transmitting and receiving data over the internet connection. It is usually measured as amount of data in Mega bytes transferred per second between the device and server. For example, a speed of 200 Gbps states that the device is a able to transfer at 200 Gb of data per second over the internet connection.

The internet speed depends on various factors of the devices used to connect to the server at service provider. A speed test can record and show you how fast can your device perform with the connection to the server.

Difference in speed between devices

You might find a difference in internet speed in different devices. The speed could vary between a PC, laptop, mobile phone and a tablet. This happens when there is any limitation on the technology supported by the device, distance from wi-fi router etc. Speedtest shows you the speed your device connects to the Service provider.

Sometimes, the same device shows different speed with speed test results. The speedtest captures the speed your device makes to the service provider at given point of time. This might vary a little due to various external factors which may be temporary.

You might also get the speed test showing different speeds in different connections using the same device. The connection speed depends on the speed a service provider provides. You can change the speedtest server to test the connection, but speedtest by default assigns the nearest server

Speed for Streaming.

To stream large volumes of data, you need to have a internet speeds few Mbps. You need a minimum 3 Mbps speed for a single video stream, 5 Mbps for a HD streaming, 25 Mbps for 4K or ultra HD streaming. You need chose your plans as per your requirements and capabilities of your service provider.

Speed to transfer large files

To transfer large files, you need a higher speed internet connection. Depending upon the size of the file you transfer and time you can allow you can chose different connection plans from your service provider.
You might need a 1.5 Mbps speed to transfer a 600 Mb file in 5,333 seconds. If you need to transfer a file of 2.25 Gb with 5 Mbps speed, it takes about 1600 seconds to transfer. The bigger the file size, the shorter the time period to transfer, the higher the internet speed you need. You can plan what works out best for you depending on the maximum files your need to transfer and time required to transfer.

Acceptable ping rate.

A ping is the time duration in milliseconds a device sends a request to a server and gets the response back. Its usually used to test speed and connectivity to a server. For best results, you need to have a ping rate below 59 ms. The lower the better. For gaming, you need to have ping rate around 20 ms.

Understanding the Speed Test Results

What’s the difference? Upload Speed vs. Download Speed

Your internet speed test will give you two outcomes, namely the upload speed and the download speed. These two-term goes hand in hand when it comes to an internet connection. Understanding their differences and how each of them works is very important to enable you to make an informed decision on which type of the internet connection you need for better performance, and according to things you will be doing online.

Download speed.

The rate at which the information travels from the remote server to internet receiver device such as PC is known as the download speed. For instance, for your PC to download your WhatsApp or Facebook photos, the download speed is the rate that the information must load on the WhatsApp or the Facebook page by traveling from the WhatsApp server to your PC at a given time.

Upload speed.

On the other hand, the upload speed is the inverse of the former. The rate at which the information travels from your PC or your smartphone is what is known as upload speed. On the above example of your WhatsApp page, if you share a photo with your friend, the upload speed is the rate the information will be transmitted from your Smartphone to the WhatsApp server.

Why should the downloading speed be faster than the uploading speed?

Consumer guidance recommends that your downloading be faster than the uploading speed since most of the internet users download information that the information they upload. For instance, you will find many people streaming live sports, watching videos, and listening to music online than uploading such items.

When is uploading speed critical?

During interactive secessions.

Although the download speed should be higher than the upload speed, the later becomes more critical when interactive secessions are in use such as the gaming applicators or live video chatting since information must be transpired to and fro in real time from the server to your devices simultaneously.

In business settings.

Files and other documents need to be shared in real time for efficient communication in the business. Uploading large files requires a faster uploading speed to ensure that data can react to all the interned persons at the right time. Uploading a large HD vides also needs to have high uploading speed to ensure that the quality is not compromised

When sending to the cloud or the server.

When you understand the type of activities, you spend much of your time in while online can enable you to pick the most suitable internet service for your events. Additionally being able to differentiate between the downloading and the uploading speed is very important when it comes to analyzing the internet speed.

Internet measurement and unit’s breakdown.

Bits versus bytes

During your internet speed test, you might assume that the higher the figures you get, the stronger and faster the speed, but this is not always factual. You need to know how internet speed is measured clearly, and this brings new internet terms.
From the above discussion, you clearly understand what internet speed is. Don’t you? Internet speed is simply the rate of information transfer from an internet connected device to the hosting server and vice versa.

Internet speed measurements can be expressed in many different ways once you understand the necessary electronic information transfer units.

What is electronic information?

Computers processes data into information which is in electronic form. Therefore a piece of electronic information can be defined as the data used or stored by any electronic devices, including a computer. Such information is what commands the network when, how, what to display and to whom. A bit is the smallest electronic information which is expressed as one or zero.

The binary code makes the computer function in that when the bit is one, the signal is on and when zero the message is off. Binary codes are a combination of eight bits in a series and each bit with a value which can either be on or off. An information byte is a series of eight bits combined.
1Byte=8 Bits

The value difference of the bits in any byte represents the specific information the byte is carrying. Hence a byte can represent information in 256 different ways. These bytes can further work together and create an endless variety of different bytes. All the electronic data is ranging from simple electronic devices such as the shopkeeper calculator to complex computer operation such as streaming HD blockbuster compromises of these bytes and bits.

Transmission per second.

Bits and bytes per second.

Computers send information to the internet in bits and bytes. Transmission of these bits and bytes from your device to the server takes time and this time is measured in its SI units which is second. The internet speed is thus measured by determining how many bytes and bits are send in one second.

This is what is known as bytes per second or bits per second.
Since bytes and bits are tiny information portions, the number transmitted in every second is always greater than 1000. It thus becomes crucial to express these considerable numbers in simple ways such as the use of metric based prefixes to show the quantity conveyed by these bytes and bits.

For instance 1000=1 kilo
1000000=1 mega
1000000000=1 giga.
Now using these figures when measuring the internet speed we can get;

  • Kilobits per second (Kbps)
  • Kilobytes per second (KBps)
  • Megabits per second (Mbps)
  • Megabytes per second (MBps)
  • Gigabits per second (Gbps)
  • Gigabytes per second (GBps).

Note any internet speed is expressed in the above expression but most of the internet’s service providers prefer using the bits per second when advertising their internet capacities since the bytes per second looks eight times bigger than that of bits per second.

Measurements in Mbps.

Internet speed will usually be measured in Mbps with slower internet speeds being measured in Kbps. However, with the advancement in information technology, internet speed has been increased to super fast speed measured in terms of Gbps.

Gigabit internet

Gigabit internets is an internet that can reach Gbps threshold. Such internet has super-fast speed connections. Gigabit internets often require technology of fiber optic cable connection for information transmission. Note if your computer is connected to the gigabit internet and you are still using the cellular data connection, watch out as the gigabit internet can eat up all your data since the connection is high-speed.

Analyzing Gigabit Technology Comprehensively.

The Bandwidth.

The term bandwidth and internet speed are, in most cases, used interchangeably, but they represent different internet connection features.
While internet speed is the measure of the rate of information transmission, bandwidth, on the other hand, is the capacity of each internet connection. For instance, if you are connected to the internet with a bandwidth of 8 Mbps, then your internet connection can reach a maximum speed of 8 Mbps when operating at its full capacity.

Why is bandwidth important?

A bandwidth acts as a buffer zone that controls how fast and the rate at which the internet speed can transmit information when connected with other internets. Since other factors can affect or slow the standard of your internet transmission, such as poor network infrastructure, bandwidth will be of great importance when capping your internet speed. For instance, most of the internet’s service dealers quote their internet up to a specific rate. Note this does not mean they are merely bragging their internet speed, it is the bandwidth that is being advertised to inform you how fast is the internet connection and the highest possible rate the internet is capable transferring at a given time.


Broadband is a term that is commonly misunderstood and wrongly used to refer to the high-speed internet connection, just like the way the term bandwidth is falsely used to mean internet speed.

To understand this term, it is good to understand the basic facts about the history of internet connection. Information technology saw much improvement back in around 1990s. It was during this period when information could be transmitted with a broad frequency spectrum, thus covering a wide area of connection such as worldwide. It was then the term broadband was used to refer to this extensive and wide range of frequencies. Therefore, in simple terms, broadband is any variety of internet connection excluding the dial-up.

A classical definition such that from the FCC states that the internet must have a download speed of a minimum of 25Mbps and 3Mbps for upload speed for it to qualify to be broadband.Types of internet and how each of them affects your internet speed. There are five different basic internet connection types, namely;

  1. Fiber
  2. Dial-up
  3. Cable
  4. DSL
  5. Satellite

Let’s discuss each of them and how it affected your internet speed.

1. The Fiber internet

Characteristics of fiber internet.
It is the fastest of all internet connection technology available.
Fiber-optic cables are used to transmit information
Capable of carrying efficiently vast amounts of information
It is not widely available in many places like other internet connections.
It is an expensive internet type since the cost of creating and maintaining the network infrastructure is quite high.

2. Cable

Characteristics of Cable internet connection
Uses cables to transmit information just like the TV services cables
It can reach very high internet speed
The broadband capacity connection is possible
Mostly available in the former TV services providers with such cable connections
Almost similar to the DSL internet speeds but can be relatively faster in some locations.

3. DSL

Characteristics of Digital Subscriber Line.
Its connection is similar in look to that of phone line but with a different wiring
It allows broadband transition capacity
Relatively faster than the dial-up internet connection
Telephone companies operating currently or formally mostly uses this type of internet connection
Usually available throughout service areas of these telephone companies

4. Satellite

Characteristics of satellite internet connection.
Wireless connection between the receiver and the internet provider
The signal is distributed to different locations of the building using wires.
Widely available in almost everywhere in the United States of America since no wires connection is required
The bandwidth of satellite internet is comparable to that of DSL internet
Relatively slower as a result of latency.

5. Dial-up

Characteristics of Dial-Up internet connection.
Prolonged internet connection
Does not support broadband connection
Limited bandwidth
In the modern world of technology, it is considered outdated.


What is Latency and Ping rate?

The time taken by the signal to travel to and fro a computer to another on the network is what is known as the internet latency. It is the time that a message takes to move from the server of the Internet Service Provider and travel back to the internet receiver.

Why is lower Ping rate Important?

Latency is also known as the ping rate shortened to ping. There is a slight contraction since ping the actual signal that is sent to check the latency and the real latency in the real sense. When the ping is lower the better since it indicated that the travel time is shorter; thus the internet is faster.

High latency means that time taken is much more; thus, you will have to wait for a longer time when downloading or to upload information.

Which internet connection has the highest ping rate?

Its implication on the internet speed? From the above definition of the ping rate, then the satellite internet connection will have the highest ping rate since the distance from internet server which is orbiting the earth and the internet receiver can be quite high. Such a range is much greater than the distance involved in internet connection based on land. Time taken to travel from the orbiting satellite to the Earth can be quite higher thus much more latency. It can result in slower internet speed considerably.

How fast is your Internet Service Providers?

It is good to consider examining if your ISP is offering adequate internet speed.

Consider advancing your internet speed by simply switching to more capable ISPs that can meet your internet speed efficiently. The zip code box below will show you all ISPs available. Click on the box and enter your Zip code and then click it to get all the ISPs available precisely where you are.

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