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Internet Speed Test: Check Your Broadband Speed

As broadband technology evolves and adapts, internet speeds are rapidly increasing in Australia - first with the rollout of the NBN, and then with the 5G rollout. But, is your broadband speed fast enough? Check below using our 30-second internet speed test to find out how fast your internet speed currently is, and ways to improve your speed if it isn’t fast enough.

How do I check my internet speed?

This internet speed test will determine how fast your broadband connection is right now. To get the best results when testing your broadband speed, use an ethernet cable to connect your computer to your modem directly. If you cannot connect your computer directly to your modem, make sure it’s as close as possible. Push “Start Test” to begin the internet speed test once you’re ready.

Understand your broadband speed test results

Once your internet speed test is complete, it will tell you all sorts of information about the quality of your internet connection. Here you can find an explanation of what your internet speed results mean, and why it matters to you.

Download speed, upload speed, and latency: What does it mean?

Internet speed tests will show you different points of information, all of which can tell you something different about the quality of your broadband. Internet download and upload speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps), which measures how fast information can be sent to and from your computer. Latency, however, is measured in milliseconds (ms).

  • Download speed: How fast things on the internet can reach your computer.
  • Upload speed: How quickly you can upload files (videos, photos, or music for example) from your computer to the internet.
  • Latency / Ping: How quickly information travels between computers on a network.

Depending on what you mainly use the internet for, you’ll be more interested in download speeds, upload speeds, or latency. Someone who spends a lot of their time watching Netflix or streaming videos, for example, will want a faster download speed while a content creator who uploads videos onto the internet will be interested in a faster upload speed so their videos will be uploaded faster. Gamers, while download speed is important, will also need to look at their network’s latency or ping, to ensure they have the most responsive gaming experience.

What is the difference between a megabit and a megabyte?

Megabits and megabytes might sound similar, but they are two different measurements. Megabit (Mb) is used to measure the speed at which information can be sent to and from a computer over the internet and is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Megabyte (MB) is used to describe information storage or file size.

8 megabits equal 1 megabyte, and we can use this information to calculate the speed at which a file can be sent over your network. If you want to download a file that is 12MB of data, for example, and your internet speed is 12Mbps it will take 8 seconds to download.

Bandwidth vs internet speed

We often refer to our broadband in terms of bandwidth, but bandwidth and internet speed are two different things. While your internet speed is how fast information can be transferred to and from your computer, bandwidth refers to the amount of data able to be transferred. Both bandwidth and internet speed are measured in Mbps, but bandwidth is used to describe the maximum capacity of information rather than actual speed and time.

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Average internet speed in Australia

The rollout of the National Broadband Network has greatly increased internet speeds across the country and gives households more choice when it comes to their home broadband options. Below you can find more information about what internet speed you might need for your household.

NBN speeds explained

With the National Broadband Network rolled out across almost all of Australia, internet speeds are faster than ever. While old ADSL and ADSL2+ connections could only reach maximum speeds of 12Mbps-24Mbps, the NBN is now capable of reaching download speeds up to 1000Mbps.

NBN plans are divided into speed tiers, with each speed tier capable of reaching a different maximum download speed. Below you can find an explanation of the different NBN speeds available to Australian households. It is important to note, however, that listed NBN speeds are the maximum achievable speed, and depending on your NBN connection and the time of day your internet might be slower.

NBN Speed Tiers Explained
NBN Speed Tier
Download/Upload Speeds
Household Size What Are These Speeds Good For?
NBN 12
1-2 People
  • Low internet users
  • One connected device
  • Browsing the web or social media
NBN 25
1-3 People
  • Low-to-medium internet users
  • Connecting a couple of devices
  • Streaming in standard definition
NBN 50
2-4 People
  • Moderate internet users
  • Streaming, casual gaming
  • Uploading larger files
NBN 100
4+ People
  • Heavy internet users
  • Streaming and gaming in HD
  • Video conferencing
  • Uploading large files
NBN Superfast
Large Households
  • Heavy internet users and professional gamers
  • Working and studying from home
  • Downloading large files
NBN Ultrafast
Large Households
  • Professional gamers and in-home small businesses
  • Reliable internet connection 24/7
  • The fastest NBN speed available

Internet speed recommendations

Many things affect how fast your internet speeds are; the type of connection you have, how many people are using the internet at one time, or even the weather for certain types of connections such as satellite NBN. Remember, the more people and devices connected in one household, the faster broadband you’ll want as the broadband speeds will be spread out across every connected device in use.

Most average families can get by with a broadband plan of 25Mbps download speeds / 5Mbps upload speeds. However larger households, particularly those with gamers, those who might stream multiple videos online at once, or those who might have more than one person video conferencing or working from home, will need faster broadband.

Minimum broadband download speed requirements
Internet activity Download speed requirement
General browsing (social media, online news, email) 1-5Mbps
Streaming SD content 3-5Mbps
Streaming HD content 5-7Mbps
Streaming 4K / Ultra HD content 25Mbps
Video calls or video conferencing 1.5-4Mbps
Online gaming* 3Mbps but 15-20Mbps is recommended
Frequently downloading large files 50+Mbps

*Low latency is just as important as download speed when it comes to online gaming. A latency of 50ms is recommended but a latency of 30ms or under is preferred for a seamless gaming experience.

What can affect my internet speed?

There are many factors that influence the speed of your internet. These include:

Internet speed meter

 Time of day: During the evening when more households are on a broadband network, your internet speed might be slowed

 The type of connection: Different NBN connections can achieve different max speeds. Hybrid Fibre Coaxial broadband and Fibre-to-the-Premise can have an NBN Superfast and Ultrafast connection, while Fibre-to-the-Node is often less reliable and cannot achieve these speeds.

 Number of people and devices: The more people and devices connected at once in a single household, the slower the connection will be as it’s spread out across different devices. While NBN12 might be suitable for one person with a single computer, multiple people using multiple devices might need NBN50 or even faster.

The average 3-4 person household can usually get by with a broadband plan of 25Mbps to 50Mbps, which is suitable for HD video streaming, light online gaming, and social media browsing across multiple devices. However, for bigger households, particularly households with multiple online gamers and streamers, or with multiple people working from home or doing online schooling, a faster broadband speed might be necessary.

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Ways to improve your broadband speed

Often, what you think you’ve signed up for in terms of broadband speed isn’t what’s actually being delivered to your device. While it’s often the case that your broadband provider is the issue, there are some cases where it’s an easy fix to get your internet speeds working at maximum capacity. If you’re looking for a new, faster, provider, Selectra can help you find the best broadband provider for your needs and lifestyle.

Congestion of the bandwidth during busy evening hours

Oftentimes you’ll see ISPs advertise “busy evening hours” as their average download speed for NBN plans. During these busy evening hours, more people are using the ISP’s services than during the day, causing slower internet overall.

Slow broadband during the evening occurs because ISPs purchase a set amount of bandwidth for their customers to use. If too many people get on that bandwidth at once, it causes everyone’s internet to slow down. This is much in the same way that traffic during rush hour can affect how quickly you get home from work. More people on the road, more traffic and slower speeds.

If an ISP purchases more bandwidth (like making a bigger road) then more people can use it without slowing down. The easiest way to fix this is to change internet providers and find a provider with a higher average evening speed.

Too many devices being used in your household at one time

As stated above, households with more people and more devices connected to the broadband network might experience slower internet speeds. This is because the broadband you purchase is like a pie, and every device gets a slice of the pie. If too many devices are connected, such as someone using their computer, home phone, and mobile while online gaming, the slices get smaller and smaller.

For NBN customers, the easiest way to fix this is to switch to a higher speed plan. Instead of NBN25, move up to NBN50 or instead of NBN50 switch to NBN100. The pie becomes bigger, giving each connected device a bigger slice.

If you’re still on ADSL, or have an NBN connection that doesn’t support the broadband speeds you need, it might be worth it to consider an alternative like home wireless broadband or mobile broadband. With 5G rolling out across the country, 5G home wireless and 5G mobile broadband are now able to reach download speeds as fast as some of the fastest NBN plans available.

Distance from the connection

ADSL users and Fibre-to-the-node NBN users might experience slower internet depending on their geographical location. The farther away your house is from the connection point, the slower your internet can become.

Unfortunately, there is really no easy solution for this, and you won’t even know you’re too far away from the node until you’re already connected. While it is possible to install a different NBN connection (for example, installing a fibre-to-the-curb or fibre-to-the-premise connection which offer more reliable speeds) this can be very costly and time-consuming.

However if you’re too far away, for the NBN speed you signed up for, your ISP is obligated to let you know so you can switch to a slower, more suitable, speed. Otherwise, you can opt for a mobile or wireless broadband connection in your house, which could offer you a better connection through the mobile network than through NBN or ADSL.

Are you on a VPN?

If you're using a VPN, your internet speed might be slowed down. VPNs can be a great way to protect your privacy online, by hiding your location, IP address, and browsing history. However, free VPNs can often slow down your download speeds. You can choose to instead pay for a VPN service, or turn off your VPN when you need faster broadband.

Slow internet speeds due to technical difficulties

All technology will run into technical difficulties, and broadband is no different. If you’re experiencing inexplicably slow internet, a little troubleshooting can help you find out some answers.

Your first step is to run an internet speed test using an ethernet cable to get clear results. If you can’t use an ethernet cable, sit as close as you can with your laptop to the modem but the results will be less consistent. If you find your speed with the ethernet is much faster than your wifi, there could be several ways to resolve this:

 Your wifi signal might not be able to cover your entire house, in which case a wifi booster might be a cheap, yet effective, fix to ensuring no dead zones prevent you from watching Netflix in bed or streaming your podcast in the shower.

 The placement of your wifi router could also be an issue. Thick walls, appliances that run interference, or furniture could all affect how the wifi signal travels around your house. By keeping your router in a central location, with minimal interference around, you could find your wifi signal is stronger and faster than before.

 Finally, sometimes you need to just replace your modem. For whatever reason, the modem your ISP sent to you might not be working great. It can be a pain to purchase and replace a modem, but it can make all the difference in your internet strength and signal. If, for some reason, a new modem isn’t the answer make sure to keep the receipt and packaging the new modem arrived in, so you can return it.

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