Broadband speed test

How to test your broadband speed...

If you are struggling with slow broadband speeds, the first thing you need to do is test the speed your broadband is operating at.

You can do this using our free broadband speed test tool.

How does the speed test work?

When you click ‘Start speed test’, data ‘packets’ are sent from Switcher.ie’s Irish servers to your computer and back again.

This is ‘dummy’ broadband data which is designed to allow us to measure the time it takes for the data to reach your computer (the download speed) and be returned to our servers (the upload speed).

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How to get accurate results

Firstly, it’s important to note that the test is a snapshot of your connection’s performance at the point in time that you carry out the test, rather than an overarching assessment.

Running the test a at different times of the day and week will provide a more accurate picture of your broadband’s overall performance.

And, in order to obtain the most accurate result possible each time you carry out the test, you should:

  • Cancel any downloads, including those initiated by background programs, and close any programs that require a constant internet connection such as online radio or RSS feeds. All of these things would adversely affect your broadband speed.
  • Connect your computer to your router with a cable, if possible. While wireless connections are very convenient, they do not always utilise the fastest broadband speeds, so a wired connection will give you a more accurate reading of the speed coming into your home. The physical distance from the router, the placement of the router, and the device you’re using are just some of the factors that can have an adverse affect on your broadband speed when you’re using WiFi.
  • Turn off certain appliances, like baby monitors, microwaves and cordless doorbells, as these can interfere with wireless connections.
  • Turn off devices that are connected to the internet, apart from the one you’re testing your speed on. Multiple connections to your broadband service will affect the speed recorded in the test.
  • Keep your device in the same place while the test is going on if you are testing the speed of your 3G / 4G connection. Although 3G / 4G is designed to offer you internet on the move, the quality and speed of the connection will vary considerably from place to place, so only run the test when you are stationary and have a strong signal.
  • Choose a quiet time of day to conduct the test, when broadband download demand is low. Peak times, especially during evenings, put your ISP under pressure and broadband speeds can suffer, especially if the ISP activates ‘throttling’ (the artificial slowing down of the network).

Start the speed test »