Broadband Speed Test

How fast is your broadband?

  • Test your broadband speed in seconds
  • Measure your download & upload speeds with absolute accuracy
  • Switch to the fastest broadband provider in your area!
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About the speed test

Broadband speeds can have a considerable effect upon the efficiency of downloads, especially larger files such as music or films. Slow broadband can be frustrating, especially if you are attempting to stream from the internet.

Broadband speeds in Ireland differ according to a number of factors, like the type of connection you have, whether you’re using a WiFi or wired connection, and what device you’re using.

Switcher.ie’s free Broadband Speed Test measures your broadband speed rapidly irrespective of whether you have a broadband, ADSL, cable, satellite, wireless and or 3G /4G service.

If you want to get the most accurate measure of your broadband speed, make sure you take the following steps at the time that the test is conducted:

  • 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).

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).

You can find out more about how our speed test works by clicking on the 'Technical specifications' link on the right-hand menu.

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).

Why is my connection so slow?

If you’re receiving speeds much lower than what you’d expect, and you’re using WiFi:

  • make sure the router is not encased in a cabinet or surrounded by things that may block the signal;
  • ensure the modem is not near devices that could interfere with it - like microwaves, baby monitors or cordless phones;
  • try plugging your device directly into the router;
  • move the router into the room where you use the internet most and/or use a WiFi extender.

If you live in an apartment building or an area with lots of wireless modems and lots of devices you may experience some wireless interference. Simply rebooting your modem - by unplugging it, leaving it for 30 seconds and plugging it back in - will automatically select the most appropriate channel for you.

Certain devices can cause problems with your WiFi. Try disconnecting all of your devices one by one to see if there’s a particular one that’s causing you a problem. If none of these solutions work, contact your provider to see if they can offer a solution.

If your provider can’t help, look around to see if you can find a deal that offers better speeds or a different type of connection. Switcher.ie’s free broadband deal checker shows you all of the deals available in your area, along with information on the type of connection, and maximum speeds for each provider.

Remember, broadband providers advertise ‘up to’ speeds, which are not a guarantee of the speed you will get, so changing to a faster type of connection - if it’s available - might be the best bet.

Who is the fastest broadband provider?

eir offers ultrafast broadband speeds, the fastest in Ireland. Their eir Fibre broadband packages have download speeds capable of reaching up to 1000Mbps and upload speeds up to 200Mbps.

Virgin Media is known to deliver superfast home broadband services in Ireland. All broadband packages include download speeds up to 360Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps as standard.

Sky and Vodafone are two prominent alternative service providers, each also providing superfast home broadband services that can deliver up to 100Mbps.

When it comes to mobile broadband, each of the main service providers provide a similar level of service in terms of broadband speed. Remember, mobile broadband works off of a mobile phone signal, so if you live in an area with poor mobile phone signal, this will affect your broadband speed also.

It’s important to remember that new broadband speeds are coming on-stream regularly, and new towns and cities are being included in providers’ rollouts.

At Switcher.ie, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of the latest developments so make sure you keep an eye on our site to get the latest information on broadband speeds in Ireland.

Technical specifications

Technical specifications of download test

The download speed is measured by timing the transfer of data packets over a HTTP connection. The initial transfer of a small file to your computer enables the test to measure the approximate speed of the connection before transferring a larger file for the optimum performance result.

In order to assess the download speed capacity, multiple files are downloaded simultaneously so that the user’s bandwidth is ‘saturated’, thus providing a clear picture of the overall capability of the broadband connection to download more than one file at the same time.

Technical specifications of upload test

ISPs in Ireland are recognising the need to provide faster upload speeds. Broadband users are uploading more content than ever before and as such the delivery of fast upload speeds is a very important factor when it comes to assessing your broadband service requirements.

Our speed test submits packets of data over an HTTP POST connection and times how long the transfers take, in order to work out an upload speed in Mbps.

The test submits multiple packets at the same time. This causes the user's bandwidth to be saturated, providing an accurate picture of their upload speed capacity.

What is the speed tests capacity?

The Switcher Broadband Speed Test measures broadband download speeds up to and above 1000Mbps. It works with all broadband services in Ireland, including the fastest services offered by the likes of Virgin Media, Sky, eir and Vodafone.

The Switcher Broadband Speed Test is equally suited to measuring the speed of all types of internet connections including ADSL, cable or fibre-optic, satellite, 3G / 4G and any broadband connections utilising wireless routers to connect to the internet.

Getting the most accurate test result is only possible if you follow the instructions set out in the ‘How to get accurate results’ section.

It’s particularly important to make sure that you disable all other devices which use the connection and terminate applications which require a heavy demand on downloading data, as these will adversely affect the test result. And, remember, using WiFi rather than a wired connection will also have a huge impact on the speeds you can achieve.

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