Whether you’re working on that big presentation, streaming your favorite show on Netflix, or Skyping your relatives across the country, you need your internet connection to work—and you need it to work fast.  

If your documents are taking longer than usual to upload, or if your episode of The Office keeps buffering, it may be time to test your internet speeds. We’re going to show you how!

But First, What is a Speed Test?

When you purchased your internet package from RTC, you likely noticed the phrase “up to” before the number of megabits per second. For example, if you purchased a 500 Mbps internet package, you may not get 500 Mbps 100% of the time—ideally, your speeds should reflect 80% or more of your selected package at any given time.

However, your download and upload speeds can be affected by a number of factors, including the plan you choose, on premise equipment, physical interferences (like a wall or door between your router and your device), and local congestion. An internet speed test is a simple way to determine how fast your connection is working right this moment!

An internet speed test measures your download and upload speeds in real time by determining your location and the closest test server. Once the test server has been located, the speed test sends a signal (known as a ping) to the server, which then sends it back to your device.

From there, the speed test will upload a set of files from your network to the test server, then re-download the same set of files from the server. The test uses these trips, measured in milliseconds, to report your current internet speed.

Tips Before You Test

Before you start a speed test, there are a few things you can do to ensure the most accurate results possible:

  • Get the device you are using as close to your router as you can. Again: walls, doors, and other physical interferences can slow down your speeds and impact your results.
  • To test speeds above 100Meg, plug a hardwire into your RTC router with a 1Gig network card capable machine (if you try to test a 500Mbps speed with a wireless device that’s only capable of 200Mbps, you will not get accurate results!)
  • Turn off any devices like smart TVs, cell phones, and other computers that might be clogging your connection and slowing your speeds.
  • Check to make sure that you aren’t actively downloading any files before beginning the test. If you have files downloading, either cancel the download or wait until it’s finished.

Test Locally for Best Results!

So now that you’ve followed those tips, you are ready to start your internet speed test! There are plenty of tools available out there to test your internet speeds, but if you are an RTC customer, the fastest and most active option can be found right here on our website. 

Why test locally? Well, your home internet is connected to RTC’s central office just down the road in Parshall, North Dakota. When you test locally, your test will reflect the speed you are actually paying for.  For instance, you may have a 1 Gig connection in your home, allowing your data to fly through the fiber connection from your house to RTC and then to the end user at top speeds.

But when you test from a source other than RTC’s server, that source could be located across the country—say, in California. Now, you are testing your circuit all the way from your home in North Dakota to that source in California, which will result in much slower speeds. By using RTC’s free internet speed test tool, you can ensure that your test accurately reflects your actual connection to RTC’s servers.

If you perform a speed test and still aren’t satisfied with the internet speeds you’re getting, our experienced technicians will work with you to determine what speed you need and help you find the right package at an affordable price.

For more information or support testing your internet speed, contact RTC Network Manager Dan Schilla at 701-862-5273 or dschilla@rtc.email.