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Internet Speed Test: Discover Your Broadband Speed and Ways to Speed Up Your Internet

The speed of a household’s broadband connection is so important in everyday life and one of the biggest factors in choosing a broadband provider. It affects the quality of streaming you can do, how quickly you can download files, whether or not you can work from home, and more. As broadband technology changes and adapts, internet speeds are getting faster and faster. But, just how fast is your internet? Below, we provide an internet speed test so you can find out how fast your internet is, as well as everything you need to know about internet speeds in Australia, and how to troubleshoot if your broadband isn't as fast as it ought to be. Discover everything you need to know about mobile and broadband plans and providers with Selectra.


Internet speed test: How fast is my internet?

How to read your internet speed test

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).

Megabit or Megabyte?Megabits (Mb) are generally used to measure the speed at which information can be sent to and from a computer over the internet, usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Megabytes (MB) are used to describe information storage or file size. 8 megabits equal 1 megabyte so 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.

So what do these mean? When do you need to know your download speed, upload speeds or latency?

  • Download speed: How fast things on the internet reach your computer
  • Upload speed: How quicklyyou are able to upload files (such as videos, photos, or music) from your computer to the internet
  • Latency / Ping: How quickly information travels between computers on a network

Depending on what you do with your internet, your broadband speeds might not be enough. For video conferencing, for example, Skype and Zoom both recommend a download / upload speed of at least 1.5Mbps for high-quality calls, while Google Hangouts recommends a minimum requirement of 300kbps (download and upload) but up to 4Mbps / 3.2Mbps (download / upload) for high quality calls with multiple people.

In addition, muti-tasking on your phone or computer, or multiple people using the internet at the same time, can affect the quality of your download speeds. If you’re video conferencing, while watching Netflix in HD quality, and have a child in the other room playing online first-person shooters, you’ll require faster download speeds than someone who is just streaming a video or browsing social media.

What is the average internet speed in Australia?

With the switch being made across the country to the National Broadband Network more and more households and businesses are doing away with their old ADSL connections in favour of the NBN. While ADSL2+ could only reach a maximum speed of 24Mbps, the NBN can reach speeds of up to 100Mbps. It is important to note that while these are the listed maximum speeds, your internet speed will often be much slower especially during busy evening hours when more households are online at once.

Types of internet connections in Australia
Connection type Maximum download speed Recommended for:
ADSL 8Mbps Light web usage, basic browsing
ADSL2+ 24Mbps Casual web surfing, streaming standard videos
Cable Between 30Mbps - 100Mbps depending on provider and geographical location N / A
Basic NBN 12Mbps Home phone and basic internet browsing
Standard NBN 25Mbps Surfing the web, streaming standard videos, 2-3 devices
Standard Plus NBN 50Mbps Working from home, streaming HD videos, online gaming, multiple devices connected at once
Premium NBN 100Mbps 4K video streaming, online HD gaming, sending and receiving large files, multiple devices for multiple people

Wifi will often be slower, and less reliable, than a hardwire connection with an ethernet cable. Barriers such as walls and furniture can affect wifi performance. To ensure your connection between your device and the router is at peak performance, position your device as close to the router as possible.

How fast should my internet be?

There are many things that 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
Video calls / 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.

Why is my internet so slow?

Oftentimes, what you think you’re getting in terms of broadband isn’t what is being delivered to your device. While it's often the case that the issue is from your broadband provider, or another fault outside of your control, there are some cases where it's an easy fix to make sure your broadband is working at it's maximum capacity. If you’re looking for a new, faster, provider Selectra can help you find the best 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.

This happens because ISPs purchase set amounts 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 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 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, the slices get smaller and smaller.

For customers on the NBN, the easiest way to fix this is to purchase a higher speed plan. Instead of NBN25, move up to NBN50 (for example). The pie becomes bigger and each device gets a bigger slice in the end. If you’re still on ADSL, you might have faster internet if you switch some of your mobile devices to a mobile broadband plan, which connects to the same mobile network as your phones. This can help by taking some of your devices off of wire broadband while giving your wired devices more broadband to use, effectively making two pies.

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, as it’s outside of your control and you won’t even find out if you’re too far away from the connection point or node until you’re connected. 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 better connection through the mobile network than through NBN or ADSL.

Technical difficulties

No technology is without its problems, and broadband is no different. If you’re experiencing slow internet there could be a number of factors that are affecting your speeds, and a little troubleshooting might help you find out some answers.

Run a 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 a number of 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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