How to Interpret Connection Speed Test Results

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Speed test results are shown in terms of certain parameters that give an indication of several measurements. Not all speed tests give you the same parameters in the results, but all of them give the download and upload speeds. Other factors are QoS, RTT, and Maximum Pause, among others.

The Upload and Download Speeds

Measured in kbps (kilobits per second) or mbps (megabits per second), these values represent the rate at which data/voice is downloaded to your PC or any other VoIP hardware -- like when you listen during an Internet call -- and uploaded from it to the Internet -- like when you speak during the call. For a good quality voice call, a download speed of 100 kbps and an upload speed of 80 kbps are largely sufficient. Note that you can have an idea of your upload and download speeds all the time by installing a network meter on your computer. 

QoS (Quality of Service)

QoS is a big topic in itself, but in our context of bandwidth speed tests, QoS represents the ratio of the worst reading to the best one. It is, in fact, a measure of the level of consistency in download speed. In speed tests, it is represented as a percentage. The higher it is, the better to quality. For good VoIP, the QoS should be 80% or more. For good VoIP, the QoS should be 80% or more.

RTT (Round Trip Time)

The RTT is the time taken for your machine or device to send a small packet during the test and receiving it back after it has made a round trip in the network path being tested. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). The smaller it is, the better is the connection. For VoIP, it is OK to have an RTT of less than 250 milliseconds.

This means that the packet of data has taken less than a quarter of a second to go round from your device to the test host and back. Round trips that take more time than that are likely to have your calls getting laggy and laggy and laggy and laggy and laggy and even to drop, since the actual packets carrying data will be delayed, resulting in a drop in call quality. 

Max Pause

This is the longest pause your test has recorded between data packets. For a good bandwidth, this should be a very small number, else, it would indicate that there could be problems of consistency in your connection. Any max pause below 100 is good for VoIP.

These values should give you a pretty clear idea about how good or bad your connection is.