Monday, February 16, 2009

At Whistler: Where's my high-speed Internet?

At home I have the luxury of SHAW high-speed Internet. It rocks and I get speeds of up to 22,000 KBPS. Let me tell you that I really missed this at Whistler. The hotel I was in had Telus high-speed Internet - vastly overrated and not really high speed. I decided to test it out and see the results. Internet speed tests are nothing new under the sun but it still surprises me how many of them are so unusable - e.g. they need Java installed, they require changing firewall settings, or are just too complicated for such a trivial task. This speed test - - originally from the UK uses Flash and can't be easier to use. Just click a button and you will get your result.

Since I do a lot of my business elsewhere, I decided to try the UK-based cloud service. You can give it a try via this widget.

Here are the results from my home office provider. Keep in mind this is a real world test during very busy times.

Some speed tests allow you to choose the server that you want to test the speed against. This leads to inconsistency in results based on your destination. The new Broadband Speed Checker makes it really simple to use and far more consistent by utilizing Amazon CloudFront CDN where you will be tested against the fastest server available to you. Obviously, the online speed tests won't show you everything about your Internet connection - they will show the maximum speed you can achieve at a given time. The average speed you are getting through your broadband cannot be determined by online tools. If you want to monitor your speed and Internet usage on the ongoing basis then I recommend this open source bandwidth meter.

So I leave you with some thoughts on this topic:

1. If you pay for high speed Internet and do not test it, you might be getting ripped off. Use this test.

2. My ISP is Shaw in Western Canada - not only do they give me consistent results that I can verify, they are also one of the few companies left that allows you to speak to a human being after two rings on the telephone.

3. How happy are you with your broadband speed? I'd like to hear some comments about good and bad ISPs. I have had good experience with mine, found Telus a train wreck and Rogers somewhere in the middle in terms of speed but with bad customer service.

Share your experience in the comments.



  1. I love the speed meter! If you want to configure Amazon CloudFront easily check out CloudBerry Explorer for Amazon S3 and CloudFront . it is a freeware windows client for Amazon Web services and you can download it here

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