How to Test LAN Speed

By Jedadiah Casey

Local Area Network hardware can be expensive. Therefore, it is important to test the infrastructure to ensure the expected bandwidth is being achieved. This has the additional benefit of troubleshooting connectivity issues. For example, the network may be mostly functional, yet a bad cable can impact the bandwidth of a single computer.

Things You'll Need

  • LAN testing and monitoring software

LAN Speed Test

Step 1

Run LAN Speed Test (see Resources). This is a "portable" program, which means no installation is necessary.

Step 2

Click "Start Test."

Step 3

Choose the location for the temporary file. This file needs to be on a different computer on the network. Click "OK."

Step 4

Enter the size of the file with which to test. 100 MB is the default size. Use a larger file size if you have a faster network and/or want a better data result. Click "OK."

Step 5

View the results. The completed test will show the sending and receiving statistics, including the number of packets, transfer time and data rate.

Windows Vista or 7 Resource Monitor

Step 1

Run the "Resource Monitor" program by clicking the "Start" button and typing in "Resource Monitor." Click the "Network" tab. This displays Windows Vista and Windows 7's built-in network bandwidth monitoring software.

Step 2

Locate a large file on a different computer on the network. The file should be larger than 100 MB for a more accurate test.

Step 3

Copy the large file from the remote computer to the computer where the test is being performed. View the networking monitor to see the speed of the LAN connection.

Windows XP Task Manager

Step 1

Right-click the Taskbar. Click on "Task Manager." Click the "Networking" tab. This displays Windows XP's built-in network bandwidth monitoring software.

Step 2

Locate a large file on a different computer on the network. The file should be larger than 100 MB for a more accurate test.

Step 3

Copy the large file from the remote computer to the computer where the test is being performed. View the networking monitor to see the speed of the LAN connection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Perform the test multiple times to and from multiple locations to receive the clearest picture. Bandwidth testing is different from bandwidth monitoring. Bandwidth monitoring involves measuring the current state of bandwidth use on the network, whereas bandwidth testing measures the total capacity of the network. Though bandwidth monitoring software is being used here, it is used as a bandwidth testing function because large files are purposely being transferred for network link capacity evaluation.