How to Test DSL Speed

At times, while downloading or uploading data from the Internet, users might want to test the connection speed. This write-up provides steps for testing the DSL speed.
Techspirited Staff Nov 7, 2018
Digital Subscriber Loop, also referred to as DSL or xDSL, transmits digital data over cables. It was later renamed as Digital Subscriber Line. It is a high-speed, low-cost connection for data that is provided by ISPs and telephone companies.
DSL uses the same line for telephone as well as for transmitting digital data. While high frequency bands are used for transmitting data, lower frequency bands are required for telephones.
Depending on the technology, service level implementation, and line conditions, the download speed ranges from 256 kilobits per second to 24,000 kilobits per second. Generally, upload is slower than download. Tests can be done manually or with the help of a website.

Speed Testing Process

Automated Testing

There are websites that test the connection quality. These websites are not only browser-friendly, but also easy to use. Here are the steps that can be followed to test the connection speed:
  • Browse any test server like DSL Reports, Speed Test, Speakeasy, etc. These websites are fast, reliable, accurate, and easy to use.
  • Click on the tab saying 'Speed Tests'.
  • Click on 'Flash plugin based speed test'.
  • After that, a number of servers will be displayed by the website. Servers that are in use will be marked in red, while others will be marked in green. Select the one marked in green. Choose the one that is geographically closer to your area, so that you get relatively accurate results.
  • After the test is initiated, the server will download a file to your computer. The file that is being downloaded does not have any effect on the computer, and it is advisable not to cancel the downloading of the file.
  • Once the file transfer starts, a speedometer style gauge will display the transfer speed.
  • When the task is completed, the download and upload speeds along with the latency will be displayed. The download indicates the number of bits transferred per second from the server, while the upload indicates the number of bits transferred from your computer to the server.
  • Latency is the time taken by your system and the server to respond with each other.

Manual Testing

  • Download any free software or file from the Internet. Check the result box to know the size of the file and the time it took to download.
  • Divide the size of the file by the number of seconds. The result is the speed in kilobits per second.
  • Next, upload a file from your PC and follow the same procedure mentioned already.
On a concluding note, the DSL speed test can either be performed manually or with the help of a website to estimate the time required for downloading or uploading a file. For getting accurate results, always perform these tests at least 3-4 times, and then take the average of the readings from these tests.