Home Get better internet Tips and guides All about speed How to test your broadband speed

How to test your broadband speed


5 mins average read time

How to test your broadband speed

Having fast internet access is no longer a nice to have. Whether it’s watching streamed content, web browsing, video calling or smart appliances, the way we live now means reliable and fast broadband is an essential utility that needs to work when we need it. Running a speed test is an easy and quick way to start troubleshooting slow broadband or check what speed you're getting right now.

What is an internet speed test?

A speed test is a free web-based service that measures the speed, latency (delay) and jitter (difference in delay) of data sent between your computer or device and a nearby test server.

A speed test first checks how fast your connection can download information. It does this by requesting a piece of reference data and measuring the real-time transfer speed. If the test calculates your connection can handle more data, it will open up more connections to send even more information. The goal is to send as much information as your connection can handle to accurately measure your download speed. 

The upload test run the same way as the download test, but in reverse. Data is sent from your computer to the test server over multiple connections to measure your maximum upload speed.

NOTE: Before you begin a speed test, it's important only one computer or device is online in your house when the test is carried out, so if you have flatmates or kids maybe wait until they go out or go to bed.

Know what broadband connection you have

If you’re not sure what type of broadband you have, you can use the Chorus Broadband Checker to find out what connection you’re on currently and what other options might be available. Understanding the potential speed of your connection will be useful when it comes to interpreting your results.

Where to test

 You can find out how fast your broadband connection is running using the Chorus Speed Test. It’s powered by Ookla’s easy-to-use network performance measurement technology.

The Chorus speed test tool.

How to run an internet speed test

When you’re ready to test your home connection, here are our suggestions for how to get the most accurate result:

  1. Use an ethernet cable to plug your computer into your modem. Ethernet cables deliver data many times faster than wifi, so always plug in your device before you start your test.
  2. Restart your computer or close memory-hungry applications like image editors, video and music streaming apps as they can slow down your system and skew your test results.
  3. The Chorus Speed Test runs in your browser and activity in other tabs will slow your system and affect your results. Close down all your tabs and restart your browser before beginning the speed test.   
  4. Make sure nobody else is online. If other family members are using the internet when you run your test, there will be less bandwidth (or capacity on your connection) to run the test properly. You might like to take the extra step and temporarily turn off your router's wifi and disconnect ethernet cables from other devices like your TV. Just remember to reconnect everything after your test.
  5. The Chorus Speed Test will automatically select a test server nearest to you. You can select a different location by choosing a new server from the drop-down list before you begin a test, or from the results page before you begin a new test.
  6. Run the test several times and at different times of the day to get a fuller picture of your broadband performance. Don’t be concerned by small differences between results.
  7. If you are on a 950 Gb plan or higher and you aren’t seeing the results you expect, try using Ookla’s desktop app. You can find the app in the Microsoft and Mac App stores.

Understanding your results

The Chorus Speed Test will tell you how fast you can download and upload data. These speeds are described as megabits per second (Mbps) and they should match, or be very close to, the download and upload rates specified by your broadband provider for your plan.

Bear in mind that if you live far from a cabinet or exchange you may not be able get the maximum speed for your broadband plan. Fibre broadband does not have this limitation and is your best option if it's available in your area. Use the Chorus Broadband Checker to see what's available where you live.

Your speed test results will also mention ping and jitter. These metrics tell you how much delay you're experiencing, so the lower these values are the better. 

Learn more about this topicSpeed test results explained

What can influence your results?

Good broadband is more than just your connection – it’s a combination of factors including your broadband plan, the modem you use, the age of your device or computer, the number of people online and the capacity of your provider's network. Any one of these has the potential to affect your overall internet experience. 

The good news is many of these things are within your control. Check out our list of tips and suggestions if you are experiencing slow broadband performance.

Become a broadband volunteer

If you're serious about testing the quality and speed of your broadband connection you can sign-up to be a broadband volunteer and participate in the Commerce Commission's project to measure New Zealand's broadband performance.

If you're selected, you're receive a Whitebox from the research firm SamKnows. The box will measure the quality of your internet connection - not what you're using - and you get access to a dashboard of reports for your connection. Head to Measuring Broadband New Zealand website to find out how it works.

More tips and tricks

All about speed
All about speed

How to test and improve your internet speed.

 For gamers and streamers
For gamers and streamers

Guides on the latest entertainment devices and platforms.

Optimise your setup
Optimise your setup

Things you can do to get the most out of your connection.