Testing Your Broadband Speed at Home
Make sure you're at home and connected to your Flow home broadband connection.
Connect with wires
For best results, connect to your modem using a wired connection. Turn off any devices using your wireless connection while running the test (smartphones, tablets, security cameras in fact anything that's using your wifi.
Tip: Using a wired connection first will help you understand if your wireless connection is limiting your speed. You can test using wireless later.
Stop using your connection
Shut down any other programmes or devices in your home that could be using the internet e.g. email, peer2peer, internet browsers or smart TVs.
Running the Test
Once you're happy that nothing else is using your connection, run your speed test. We recommend Speedtest, other sites are available - use your favourite search engine and search speed test.
1. Go to www.speedtest.net
2. The site will test the speed of your broadband connection.
Once complete, the site will show the results to the download and upload tests.
Comparing with your speed estimate
You can compare this to the speed we estimate for your line when you signed up for your broadband.
If you find that your speed is acceptable when using a wired connection, our guide on improving wireless performance offers some helpful tips to improve your speed. (Link to guide helpful tips for wifi)
If the site picks up a problem with your connection and you've followed our advice we'll be happy to help. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and log a fault. We will respond to you within 24 hours.
Improving Wireless Performance
Looking for help improving the performance of your wireless connection?
This guide has some useful tips and solutions.
- Range - i.e. the distance between your modem and computer
- Obstructions - e.g. thick walls, fish tanks and fridges
- Interference - other equipment in the house using 2.4GHz
- Put your modem in pride of place
- Changing your channel - looking at the settings on your modem
- Refresh the connection
- Restart your modem - turning it off, then back on again really can help
- Update wireless drivers
- Third party wireless software issues
- Older wireless devices
- Update your computer
In general, the further your computer is from your wireless modem, the lower the signal strength will be. When the signal strength is low, there's a higher chance that you'll experience a drop in connections, and the speed of the wireless connection will decrease. The range is affected by obstructions and interference.
Obstructions between your computer and wireless modem make for lower signal strength; different materials have different effects. We've listed a number of obstacles you may have in your house, and suggest that you try and relocate your modem where possible to see if the situation improves: " Very high - metal
- High - concrete
- Medium - marble
- Medium - bricks
- Medium - stone walls
- Medium - water - (i.e. enclosed in a fish tank)
- Low - glass
- Low - sheet rock
- Low - wood
The following items can cause wireless interference:
- Other wireless modems, e.g. a neighbours
- Cordless phones
- Baby monitors
- Microwave ovens
- HiFi speakers
- Computers - if obstructing wireless cards
- Older CRT computer monitors or TVs
- Wireless keyboards or mice
- Bluetooth devices
- Any other wireless devices using the 2.4GHz frequency range
The further away the source of interference is from the wireless modem, the less chance there is that it will cause an issue. Put Your Modem in Pride of Place
Where you position your modem can make a big difference to the speed of your connection
- Do: Put it on a shelf or table
- Don't: Put it on the floor - especially if you have carpets
- Do: Place it away from sources of interference such as microwave ovens, baby monitors, cordless phones and HiFi speakers
- Try not to: Obstruct the wireless signal between your modem and device - thick walls, fish tanks, and fridges can all cause problems
- Try to: Move your modem close to where you use the internet the most, for example in the middle of your house
Secure your modem.
If you are using a wireless modem ensure it is secure. If your modem is not secure, your connection could be being used by another user without your knowledge.
Refresh the connection
If the connection drops, you may need to refresh the connection. Messages like Limited or Limited or no connectivity may be received on a Windows computer. On Apple Mac's, the Airport icon might display an exclamation mark or blink between grey and black.
The tips below may help:
Internal cards on laptops. Try turning the wireless switch on the laptop off for a few seconds, then back on USB wireless adaptors. Unplug the wireless adaptor for 20 seconds, then plug it back in. Apple AirPort. Click the wireless fan, and select turn AirPort off, wait a few seconds, then click turn Airport on. Are anti-virus and firewall applications up to date. Some viruses are bandwidth-hungry and may be utilizing a high percentage of bandwidth if they are running in the background.
Restart your modem
From time to time, it can help to turn your modem off, then back on again. To do this:
1. Turn your modem off at the power
2. Wait a minute
3. Turn it back on again
4. It will take around a minute to restart and for your connection to come back on
Update wireless drivers
If you're using an inbuilt wireless adaptor, it may help to contact the manufacturer to see if any driver updates are available. These might improve wireless connectivity and even performance.
Third party wireless software on your computer
If you're using wireless software on your computer that's not provided by Windows or Apple this may be the cause of the intermittent connection problem. We suggest you use Windows or Apple software to manage your wireless connection, and disable the third-party wireless software. The manufacturer of your computer should be able to assist with this, if you're unable to locate an option to disable the software.
Older wireless devices
If you have older wireless devices connected to your modem, these can cause the speed of your wireless connection to reduce. Try turning off older devices as a test, then restart your modem and see if the wireless performance improves. It may help to contact the manufacturer to see if any driver updates are available. These might improve wireless connectivity. Update your computer
We strongly recommend that you update your operating system with the latest service packs. This is not only for security reasons, but also because many wireless connectivity issues are fed back to Microsoft and Apple, and then improved with new releases.
VPN's and File Sharing Devices
There is no doubt that VPN services offer benefits ranging from privacy to security; however, on the negative side they tend to affect your broadband connectivity speeds. Speed fluctuations or reductions are not only caused by VPN services only, Hide IP apps and proxies tend to have the same effect- although on a grander scale. The distance between the subscriber and the VPN server determines the speed. In order to provide quality services to their clients, paid VPN service providers have servers spread across the globe allowing clients to switch depending on their geographic locations.
If you're using common connection speed hogs, like BitTorrent and Usenet, there is a way to troubleshoot and see if they're causing the problem. Go to your client of choice and limit download speeds. If this helps, you've found the problem and have a tough decision to make. You can either live with slower downloads or contact us at email@example.com to upgrade your broadband speed.
Ensure when you are carrying out a speed test that you have disabled your VPN and all file sharing devices.