BroadbandIs Your Internet Speed Living Up to Its Promise? How to Do a Broadband Speed Test

Person using internet on laptop and phone.

A broadband speed test can reveal the truth about your internet speed: is it really as fast as your provider promises?

We’re at the point where our daily lives revolve around the internet. People use the internet for work, entertainment, a source of teaching, and everything in between.

When the internet is slow, it can derail the flow of your day.

Take a broadband speed test to find out if you’re getting the speed your internet service provider promised. This guide will explain how you can take the test, and what you can do to fix slow speeds.

Broadband Speed Test

Is your internet running slower than you think it should? There might be several reasons why this is the case.

Before you diagnose the problem, you can test your connection with a broadband speed test. These tests only take a few seconds, and you can do them for free online.

A broadband speed test can tell you several details about your connection speed. It’s worth conducting a test at different times throughout the day, as speed can fluctuate.

There are a number of free online broadband speed tests available, including:


What Does The Speed Test Show You?

A speed test can show you multiple components of your internet connection. The descriptions below can help you gain a better understanding of what you’re looking at.

Different components of your internet connection
Different components of your internet connection
Different components of your internet connection
Different components of your internet connection
Download Speed

Download speed is one of the most important broadband elements for people who are surfing the internet at home.

This speed determines how quickly – or slowly – you can download files onto your computer. You’ll see this number displayed in Mbps: megabits per second.

Download speed is one of the first things people look for because it relates to most entertainment purposes. Streaming Netflix, downloading files and playing video games all require a suitable download speed.

Reasonable broadband download speeds can be anywhere from 25 to 100 Mbps, depending on what you are doing. Some Aussies may have a download speed above 100 Mbps, but this is rare.

Expect somewhere close to a 100 Mbps download speed for the most expensive broadband plans you can purchase.

If your download speed doesn’t reach the highest levels it’s not necessarily a cause for concern, unless you’re paying for top-notch internet. For most homes, a speed of 25Mbps to 50Mbps will suffice.

Upload Speed

Most casual internet users probably don’t worry too much about upload speed, but it’s essential to some functions.

Like download speed, upload speed is measured in Mbps. Because download speed is almost always more valuable, download speed is faster than upload speed.

Download speed refers to how fast you can download files, and upload speed refers to how fast you can upload them. Casual users won’t need an exceptionally high upload speed since they likely don’t frequently send too many large files.

Certain applications do require a high upload speed along with a high download speed. For example, streaming with Twitch or uploading YouTube videos can take a long time if your speeds aren’t up to the task.

You will want a high upload speed if you regularly use these platforms, but don’t need to worry too much about it if you don’t.


Ping, like upload speed, isn’t a priority for those who use the internet for streaming videos and finding information. Ping plays the biggest role when it comes to playing online video games.

This measurement refers to how long it takes to send and receive information from another computer or server. This number is usually displayed in milliseconds, so a lower ping is better.

You can see ping work in practice when you’re playing a game online. To simplify the definition: ping refers to the difference in time between when you hit the mouse button and when your action is displayed on the screen.

You may have heard a video game player complain about a high ping when they’re playing with or against someone in a different country.

It takes a considerable amount of time for the server to register a gamer’s actions, which puts them a step behind players with a low ping.


Jitter tests the stability of your connection. If your ping constantly fluctuates from high to low, then your jitter result will be high – which is a bad thing.

You want your connection to remain as stable as possible. A low jitter number tells you that your connection is stable – even if your ping is higher than you’d like it to be.

It isn’t out of the ordinary to receive a high jitter value if you’re testing your connection from a mobile phone, but it should be stable on a desktop or laptop.

There may be some trouble with your connection or network if you receive a high jitter score on your computer.

Getting What You Paid For

The National Broadband Network allows internet service providers to offer four tiers of broadband connection to their customers. We’ve listed these tiers below, along with their accompanying maximum upload and download speeds.

NBN maximum upload and download speeds

Your plan dictates how much you pay per month, but it isn’t the only contributing factor to your internet speed.

Certain NBN technologies are more responsive than others and will net you a faster upload and download speed. FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), for instance, will usually give you a faster connection than FTTN (Fibre to the Node).

Your location might play a role in your internet speed as well, with some areas performing better than others. The number of people trying to connect to your network will also affect your broadband speed test results.

There are a lot of factors at play here, but you should be getting the internet speed you’re paying for.


Improving Your Internet Speed

There are a few things you can try to improve your internet speed. It might be worth switching providers if these tips don’t work and contacting your ISP doesn’t get you anywhere.

Check Your Plan

The first step you should take in improving your internet speed is looking at your plan. You may have selected a cheaper plan to save some money, not realising the speed it would cost you.

It’s possible that you thought a basic internet connection would suffice when you signed up for a plan. For example, the basic NBN plan offers a 12 MBPS download speed.

This is painfully slow for most applications. If the buffer times are driving you nuts, it may be time to upgrade. If your broadband speed test shows that your speeds are in line with your plan, it may be the plan that is the problem.

Ethernet Connection

Wireless is fantastic for versatility and portability, but not for pure connection. Your Wi-Fi connection speed might be substantially lower than that of your wired connection, which is common for many people.

Plug an ethernet cable into your router, then into your computer. Run the broadband speed test again and see if you receive different results. A wired connection is usually better than a Wi-Fi connection.

Power-Cycle Your Modem

This solution is a simple one that can solve the broadband speed problem for a lot of people. Simply turn off your modem, wait a minute or two, then turn it on again.

Your modem’s cache might be clogging up the broadband connection, and a reset can fix the problem.

Check Your Router and Modem

Your router and modem might be causing the broadband speed problem if they aren’t compatible with your plan.

Most ISPs provide modems to their customers. While these are usually a fine option, you will sometimes have to upgrade to get the most from your internet connection.

Try a different modem and rerun the tests. If you receive better results, then you know where the problem area is located.

Switch Your Internet Service Provider

If none of these tips work for you, consider switching service providers. Contact your provider and see if they diagnose or fix the problem.

Unfortunately, some providers can’t handle the stress their customers put on their internet. If this is the case, switching providers may be the way to find a speed that better suits your usage.


Compare Plans to Find the Best Option

There are several internet service providers in the Australian market, and the competition can work in your favor. If you’re not happy with your current plan, chances are you’ll be able to find someone else who can give you a better deal.

It only takes a few minutes to do an online comparison; with our simple online tool you can see different plans side by side. Quickly compare speed, data, and prices across providers, to see in an instant whether or not you could save by switching.

You may also like…

Private Health Cover for Seniors

December 12, 2018

It seems that the older we get, the more we value our health. Regardless of how healthy you were as a young or even middle-aged adult, your senior years can present a new range of health concerns. Though Medicare is…

Learn about the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) Your Guide to the Medicare Levy Surcharge

November 14, 2018

It may seem that the only difference between the Medicare Levy and the Medicare Levy Surcharge is a single word, but it goes much deeper than that. While most Australians pay the Medicare levy, the Medicare Levy Surcharge is avoidable….

Family Health Cover Health Insurance for Families

Private health insurance is a must-have for many Australian families of all ages and sizes. Not only can private health insurance help your family save money on health care, it can reduce your tax liability. While these factors are important,…

Singles Health Cover Why You Need Health Insurance for Singles

November 15, 2018

Buying health insurance for singles may not be high on your list of things to do, but you might want to make it a priority. Not only can health cover help you avoid tax liabilities, but you can also get…

Ready to save?
Join the Club

Your details are safe and sound.

Your data is protected with 128-bit encryption. Rest easy knowing that any information you provide us with is safe and secure. Learn more about security.