Put your broadband connection to the test

FCC tool lets you test your Internet speed

Want to know how fast your Internet connection really is?

If you're like most home users, your broadband provider tempted you with promises of blazing fast speeds -- but the fine print always warns you that those speeds aren't guaranteed. And if you're an agency network manager, you've seen the same kinds of advertisements and marketing materials, likely geared toward an enterprise setting.

But you're probably not getting the promised speed, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Now, as part of the FCC's roll-out of its broadband plan, you can test it.

To test your connection, go to www.broadband.gov and click on the "Consumer Broadband Test" link. You'll fill in some basic information and then can test your performance using two software tools. You'll get back measurements of your download speed, upload speed, latency and "jitter" -- that last is defined as "a measure of the variability in latency." According to the FCC's information page, latency and jitter are especially troublesome for real-time applications, such voice over IP and online virtual environments.

Do you connect to the Internet with an iPhone and want to test the speed? Thanks to the FCC, there's an app for that.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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