Knowledge Base‎ > ‎

Broadband Performance


There are many factors which contribute to the perceived performance of your broadband Internet connection.  It can depend upon the following:
  • The bandwidth your ISP has contracted to provide you.
  • Whether you are uploading or downloading data - some connections (like ADSL) have asymmetric performance characteristics and others (SDSL) have symmetric characteristics.
  • The line quality and distance from your residence to the local telephone exchange.
  • The number of other people in the area using the local telephone exchange.
  • The performance characteristics and load on the websites you visit.
  • The load on your personal computer at the time of measurement.
It is difficult to pin down which one of these is the issue, especially when you don't have the right tools.  Many times, many people remark to themselves, "Is it me, or is the 'Internet' slow today?"  Without quantitative data rather than subjective experience, it is impossible to tell.  Previously, getting quantitative data on performance issues required expensive and complex tools - now you can use WebMeter.

There are two key network performance characteristics that you need to understand to interpret the performance of your broadband connection.  These are bandwidth and latency:
  • "Bandwidth is a measure of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bit/s or multiples of it (kbit/s, Mbit/s, etc)" (source: Wikipedia).
  • "Latency in a network is measured either one-way (the time from the source sending a packet to the destination receiving it), or round-trip (the one-way latency from source to destination plus the one-way latency from the destination back to the source)" (source: Wikipedia).

WebMeter continuously records both of these network characteristics as you browse the Internet.

WebMeter and Broadband Performance

WebMeter provides continuous, qualitative data on how your Broadband connection performs. You never again have to worry about whether "it is just you" or the 'Internet' really is performing poorly.  WebMeter does not periodically execute a laboratory test of the speed of the connection between you computer and a test web site.  Instead, it constantly monitors and records the performance you experienced, in your browser, over time as you surf the Internet.  It gives you the concrete figures you need to begin to understand just what kind of online experience you are having.

The Internet is complex and there are many factors that influence the performance you experience whilst browsing.  If you want to assess broadband performance (or any aspect of Internet performance) the most effective way to do this is compare performance data which is collected and presented in a consistent way, minimising differences in unwanted parameters, to focus on those that are important.  WebMeter provides an opportunity for the Internet user community to do just this.  The more people who use WebMeter and share their findings the easier it is to compare the service you are receiving relative to colleagues and friends.  We encourage all people who use WebMeter to share results on today's many online social forums to maximise the potential of WebMeter's use.

Other Broadband Performance Tools

There are many excellent (and free) tools available on the Internet to allow a brief "point in time" check of the performance of your Broadband connection.  One of these is the UK's Brandband Speedchecker which is reproduced below (with permission). 

WebMeter goes beyond these tools.  WebMeter records these figures continuously, rather than periodically, as you browse the Internet.  You can see historical "point in time" performance, what was the best performance, what was the worst, and what the average was like.  Furthermore, you can zoom in on particular time periods, website visits, or individual transactions and compare results with others to see who, really, has the better online experience or value for money. 

There are more "point in time" broadband speed test websites (just in the UK) than you can shake a stick at.  Just a sample is provided below.  There is only one tool that provides simple, powerful and continuous performance monitoring, reporting and analysis - WebMeter.