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  Reply # 1305492 14-May-2015 21:39
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dolsen:

Edit - as the test progressed, the speed was getting faster.



With ookla,
There are a bunch of jpg files on the webserver hosting the speedtest.
The flash player makes an http get of the url http://server/speedtest/1000x1000.jpg? which is the pixel resolution (size) of the file. The URL has a ? on the end to indicate to any caches along the way to serve the file directly without a cached copy - but some caches can be configured to ignore that flag and serve a cached copy anyway.
The jpg file itself is made up of very many random pixels and colours so it is as big as possible, and not compressible. This is how the speedtest is able to work through a corporate proxy - by using standardised files.

The first couple of files are about 100kb in size and serve to provide the ping result, and gauge your speed.
It then will download an appropriate file based on what it thinks your internet speed is...
After a couple of seconds, it will add a couple more streams or parallel downloads and usually has about 5 going by the time it gets to the middle of the test.

There is no point it testing your 100mbit fibre connection with a 200 kilobyte file. So it downloads files of an appropriate size.

Each of those streams is subject to TCP windowing - which has a mechanism to gradually speed up as bandwidth is available. Multithreadding is done so the speed can ramp up as fast as possible than with a single file transfer and provide a more accurate result.

So if you are doing a test on a very fast connection, you will probably find you have downloaded 500mb+ of data.

I was hosting the napier ookla speedtest server for a few months but decided to take it down as we were getting more tests from india and africa than from NZ residents and it was annoying seeing our expensive bandwidth being used like that.




Ray Taylor
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There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




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  Reply # 1305495 14-May-2015 21:42
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Was it telstra clear? that had an advisory on their website for 100mbit customers to download a registry patch for windows xp/vista users?




Ray Taylor
Taylor Broadband (rural hawkes bay)
www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1305542 14-May-2015 23:54
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sbiddle: Testing to the US East coast isn't ideal - speeds there can really suck. Once your traffic hits the US there is pretty much nothing your ISP can do about it.



Agree you only need do a quick google to find that most if not all US ISP's can't even provide close to their own advertised speeds to their own customers let alone push it through a pipe offshore 

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  Reply # 1305993 15-May-2015 17:48
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NonprayingMantis:
Behodar: While I fully agree that Speedtest isn't too reliable, those numbers do seem very low. I just ran a test myself to the "Unwired" server:



you probably should say what plan you are on for that speedtest to have any relevance.

on a 100/20 plan that would be ok.  on a 200/200 plan that would be pretty bad.  


the plan you are on makes no difference in terms of throughput unless that throughput is higher than your circuit speed.

ie. if a person on 100/100 gets 20M down from a speedtest server, you would expect a person on a 1000/1000 to get the same (keeping other factors the same eg ISP, location etc)

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  Reply # 1305998 15-May-2015 17:55
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Publius:
dwl:
dolsen: Edit - as the test progressed, the speed was getting faster. Not sure about this particular one, but, for the others, if the test was longer it might have even gone faster.


It seems too good to me for peak time but maybe Snap has some magic at work. Many ISPs are running caches and I thought speedtest might not get cached but this looks a bit like more local source. Don't be fooled by the ping time. Maybe Snap could confirm?

One way to tell is to do a packet capture and check the RTT on a TCP analysis - I have been surprised to see a customer comparing providers and supposedly getting very good international speeds and the RTT was down to about 4ms - it was coming out of an ISP cache in Auckland.


Yep, most ISPs do mess with speedtest and cache it to make it "faster".

Best way to test your speed is using Bittorrent. Find a large well-seeded torrent (latest debian dvd iso would be a good start), put your bittorrent client into prefer-udp mode (if possible), change it to display download speed in MBit/sec instead of MBytes/sec (generally the default), and see what you get. Likely your router will be the bottleneck at this point, as too many open tcp/udp connections will kill most routers and all cheap routers.
 


even if snap had caching infrastructure, you can't cache speedtest, it transfers random data that's negotiated between your PC and the speedtest server. there's no way for a cache to know what to send.

the reason it speeds up is that it makes many TCP connections to the server (sometimes 20-30+, depending on speedtest server version) and there's a delay before they all ramp up.

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Reply # 1306016 15-May-2015 18:05
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sorceror:
even if snap had caching infrastructure, you can't cache speedtest, it transfers random data that's negotiated between your PC and the speedtest server. there's no way for a cache to know what to send.


Wanna bet :)

dwl

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  Reply # 1306030 15-May-2015 18:26
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Publius:
sorceror:
even if snap had caching infrastructure, you can't cache speedtest, it transfers random data that's negotiated between your PC and the speedtest server. there's no way for a cache to know what to send.


Wanna bet :)

The old speedtest where it downloads JPG files with specific names using HTTP GET would seem a possible candidate for caching.  While the payload might be not be compressible, the file is standard (e.g. using "wget http://speedtest.vodafone.co.uk/speedtest/random4000x4000.jpg" brings down the 32MB version and gives a reasonable indication of single threaded rates from that server).

The newer Ookla NetGauge that opens a TCP port and then has a different method (Hi, PING, PONG then HI, DOWNLOAD in the TCP payload) might be harder to cache.  I get the impression NetGauge is rolling out fairly widely and if you use the speedtest.net interface you may not know which version is sitting behind it.  The ISP branded ones with the circular dial make it more obvious they are NetGauge.

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  Reply # 1306032 15-May-2015 18:28
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Publius:
sorceror:
even if snap had caching infrastructure, you can't cache speedtest, it transfers random data that's negotiated between your PC and the speedtest server. there's no way for a cache to know what to send.


Wanna bet :)


with enough time and money anything is possible. but the fact of the matter is that there are much easier ways to speed up speedtest.net than wasting your time figuring out how to cache it.

feel free to have a look at a packet capture, by default Ookla doesn't even use HTTP for transport anymore.

edit: @dwl, i am talking about the new version. it's not even worth using the older speedtest.net servers (this thread is a great example of why)

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  Reply # 1306077 15-May-2015 19:00
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Running a speedtest.net server on a globally distributed CDN might be an interesting experiment...

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  Reply # 1309703 22-May-2015 09:59
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A more accurate way to gauge your speed is to google for 'Speed test files' for VPS/Colo providers in the USA and pick one on the 2nd or 3rd page of results and download it. Less chance that such a file is cached or optimised anyway.

Personally I am yet to see any issues with contention on UFB connections. There has been a lot of FUD spread by "boutique" "business" ISPs that claim that if you don't buy their service with CIR you will be stuck on "slower-than-adsl" but in practice this has been VERY far from the case. Possibly because ISPs are on their best behaviour since they don't want to scare off the new adopters.

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  Reply # 1310917 24-May-2015 19:14
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timmmay: Running a speedtest.net server on a globally distributed CDN might be an interesting experiment...


the citylink wellington server is hosted in the US as well as wellington and auckland.  confused me at first when i was testing from the US...


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