Blackfoot Tech Tip: November

How to: Discover your internet speed

Last month, we talked about the difference between bandwidth and speed. This month, we’re looking at how to test your internet speed.

What’s more frustrating than being in the middle of a great movie only to see the screen start to buffer? Many times, our first response is to get upset with the speed of our internet connection.

  • How do we know what our internet speed is?
  • Is there anything we can do to speed up our internet?

Here are some tips on checking the internet speed at your home, starting with a speed test.

Speed test

A speed test is a measurement of the connection between a single device and a server. The closer your device is to a server, the more accurate your results will be. As an example, a speed test from a device in Missoula to a server in Helena will be more accurate than a test against a server in California.

Test your connection speed

Testing your internet speed is easy! It takes just a few minutes.

  1. Reboot your router. When a router is rebooted, it drops incoming and outgoing connections that may be running in the background. We want to make sure we are getting accurate results and the more devices you have connected to a network during your test, the greater the potential impact to the speed test.
  2. Disconnect your devices. After rebooting your router, disconnect all devices connected to your router. Disconnecting your devices can most easily be accomplished with the Blackfoot Smart Home app. This can also be accomplished by powering down every device in your home with the exception of the device you will be using for the speed test.
  3. Connect a device. Preferably, connect a computer or laptop with an Ethernet cable (a bigger cable than a phone cord) to your router. A direct Ethernet connection will provide much more accurate results over a device connected over WiFi.
    (If you do not have a device that can be connected over Ethernet, refer to Step 2 and make sure you only have one device connected to your WiFi network.)
  4. Test your speed! Navigate to speedtest.blackfoot.com and press GO. This will facilitate a speed test against our server in Helena.

What to expect next

It’s important to understand the results will fluctuate during each speed test. A speed test is not a fool-proof way of measuring speeds accurately as many factors are at play.

  • First: We must account for connectivity overhead. This overhead can be up to 20% of your overall speed package. (If you have a 100×100 package, expect speed test results around 80×80.)
  • You also need to consider background processes and other devices running on your network. (Any other devices connected to your network during the speed test will take away from your overall results. This is why it is important to make sure the device you’re are using to run the test is the only device connected at that time.)

That’s it!

While a speed test won’t solve any connectivity issues, it’s good gauge to see if your internet speed is being impacted.

For other technology-related questions, see our frequently asked questions on our website.

Did you know?

Blackfoot works with entrepreneurs in Montana and beyond, helping to turn ideas into businesses. Our entrepreneur program, C2M Beta, is holding it’s fifth annual Showcase event on December 13. For more information on C2M Beta and how to join us for the upcoming Showcase event, please click here.