💥The Misconceptions of Using Speedtests to Measure Network Performance 🏎️

💥The Misconceptions of Using Speedtests to Measure Network Performance 🏎️

While speedtests might give you a quick adrenaline rush with impressive numbers, they often fail to capture the true essence of network performance


3 min read

In today's digital age, businesses rely heavily on stable and high-performing networks to ensure productivity and seamless operations. However, a common mistake many businesses make is relying solely on speedtests to measure the stability and user experience of their network connections. This approach often leads to misunderstandings and overlooks critical aspects of network performance.

Endless speedtests at every 5 minute intervals attempting to optimize bulk download speeds are totally meaningless when you application is low bandwidth incoming remote desktop sessions! Eish!

The Brain Fart of Speedtests

Speedtests, while commonly used, are not a comprehensive measure of user experience or network stability. In fact, conducting a speedtest can temporarily disrupt the performance of other applications running on the network, causing what is colloquially known as a "brain fart" moment for users. This disruption can lead to frustration and complaints, undermining the overall user experience.

Another misconception is the misunderstanding between uplink and downlink speeds. Users accessing a business's services or applications from the Internet primarily experience what the uplink speed represents, not the downlink. In cases where there's an asymmetrical link, the uplink speed may be poorer, affecting the overall user experience despite seemingly fast downlink speeds.

The Importance of Latency

Instead of fixating on speedtest results, businesses should prioritize measuring latency. Latency refers to the time it takes for data packets to travel from one point to another in a network. Low latency is crucial for real-time applications like video conferencing, online collaboration, and cloud services. High latency can lead to delays, buffering, and overall sluggish performance.

Beyond Saturation Testing

Speedtests primarily focus on saturation testing, which measures the maximum bandwidth capacity of a connection. While this is important for understanding the theoretical limits, it doesn't reflect actual user experience, availability, or downtime. Businesses need to look beyond speedtests and invest in advanced analytics tools that provide comprehensive insights into network performance.

Speedtest as a Commissioning Tool

It's essential to recognize that speedtests serve as commissioning tools and out-of-band troubleshooting tools at best. They provide a snapshot of performance at a specific moment but don't offer a holistic view of network stability, uptime, or user satisfaction. Relying solely on speedtests can lead to oversights and misinterpretations of network performance.

Embracing Advanced Analytics

To truly understand and optimize network performance, businesses should embrace advanced analytics solutions. These tools provide real-time visibility into network metrics such as latency, packet loss, jitter, and overall performance trends. By leveraging advanced analytics, businesses can proactively identify issues, optimize resources, and enhance user experience.

An example of advanced analytics is Fusion Broadband's Illuminate:

Wrapping up, while speedtests have their place in network testing, they are not a comprehensive solution for measuring network stability and user experience. Businesses must move beyond speedtests and adopt advanced analytics tools to gain actionable insights, improve network performance, and ensure a seamless user experience.

Remember, speed isn't everything—latency, availability, and reliability matter just as much in today's digital landscape.

Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa. 👉 Contact Fusion