How Do I Test My Wi-Fi Speed?

Your Wi-Fi speed can slow down due to many factors, including your distance from an access point, the number of networks in the area and even interference from a microwave. To test your speed, visit a site that pings a local server from your IP address to get accurate download and upload rates for your connection.

Stylish man enjoying the free internet at cafe
Crowded public networks cause uneven bandwidth usage and slow speeds.
credit: gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Eliminate Interference

Different access points transmit Wi-Fi using different technologies, so you can't use a single formula to calculate falloff. However, even a router with the newest technology provides a weak signal at the perimeter of its range, so moving as close to the source as possible eliminates slowdown from low signal strength. A running microwave oven emits radiation at around 2.4 GHz, a common router setting, and public places such as office buildings can host hundreds of networks that contribute to muddy signals with noticeable Wi-Fi slowdown.

Ping a Nearby Server

Visit a website such as Speedtest, TestMySpeed or Pingtest to ping a local server and immediately receive test results. Click “Begin Test” to ping the nearest server and test your download and upload rates. These tests work by transmitting a signal from your network to the server and measuring the response's latency, similar to the way a radio ping test measures the latency of a signal's bounce off a landmark or building. You receive results in units of megabits per second, making those results easy to compare to your Internet service provider's specifications.