How do you test the WiFi speed as a complete beginner? How do you determine the connection quality correctly and what needs to be considered? – We answer these and more questions about the WiFi speed test with this 5-step guide – so that any non-technical person can easily understand it!
Step 1. Understand the difference between WiFi and Internet connection
To determine WiFi and Internet speed, you also need to know and understand the difference between the two.
In short: You use the Internet to use the services and websites on the World Wide Web. The Internet has a certain speed, which is specified with MBit/s.
The WLAN is your local wireless network and has its speed, also indicated with MBit/s. However, you use the WLAN as an air bridge from your device to the Internet.
Step 2. Test actual WiFi speed
This point is the “ actual internet speed on your receiving device.”
But the common understanding is related to WiFi speed and that’s why we call it that.
Now to test your WiFi speed where it should work, you need to go to that location with your computer or smartphone and do the following:
Step 3. (Optional) Test the actual Internet speed on the router
To exclude your purchased Internet speed as a limiting factor, you must test the connection on the router.
The test itself is the same as the step 2 WiFi speed test, with slightly different requirements.
We have three options to determine the internet speed arriving at your router.
The easiest way to test your internet connection is directly via WiFi on your smartphone or computer.
The problem with this is that the WiFi connection itself can skew the result, so when testing, you should stand as close to the router as possible or test directly via cable to rule out the WiFi as a limiting factor.
Some routers also can test the connection directly through their user interface, so you can rule out all other influences and get the most accurate values. You can search for it online if you want to, or just browse your router’s interface.
The test via WLAN or cable is more than sufficient for an assessment.
How would you like to proceed?
Preparation: Test Internet speed via WLAN
For the Internet connection test directly via WLAN, you only need an active and working WLAN connection.
To have the best possible connection, you should go directly in front of the router. Then, we can be sure that other influences will not disrupt the connection.
All you have to do is make sure that the internet connection is up and running, simply open a website on your test device (computer or smartphone) and see if it loads.
Does the internet connection generally work or would you rather test via cable?
Preparation: Test Internet speed via cable
With almost every WLAN router that you get from your provider, you can connect an Ethernet cable, also known as a LAN cable.
It looks like this:
The ports labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4 are the LAN ports.
So plug one end of the cable into the free port on your computer/laptop and the other end into a free LAN port on your router.
The network configuration should happen automatically via DHCP and you should have an internet connection after about 1 minute.
To ensure that the following measurement is not falsified, you should deactivate the WLAN on your PC or disconnect the WLAN connection to your router.
Now check whether the internet connection is available and working. Simply open a website on your test device (computer or smartphone) and see whether it loads.
Is the internet working with a cable and the WiFi connection disabled or do you want to try another method?
Troubleshooting internet connection
If your internet connection has stopped working altogether or is slow everywhere, you can try a few things.
- The classic – Disconnect the router from the power supply for at least 60 seconds. (Really unplug the power cord, that’s important!)
- Check all cables to ensure that they are still properly plugged into the socket on both sides!
- On Windows and Mac, you can use the automatic troubleshooter to try to have incorrect settings corrected automatically. (Right-click on the connection icon and then select “Troubleshoot” or “Network Diagnostics”)
- Contact Internet providers and ask if there is a problem on their end and if so, consider buying faster Internet.
Unfortunately, that’s all you can do yourself, but this should fix 99% of internet problems, as these are the biggest sources of error.
Step 4. (Optional) Find out the theoretical WiFi speed of your router
To find out how fast your WiFi is theoretically, you can look at the user manual.
Just kidding, I know that most (like me) are a little careless with instructions and packaging, so your best bet is to search the internet for your router model, with the addition of “technical data” (without apostrophes).
Then you should find out pretty quickly how fast your WiFi is.
So my router has 300 MBit/s on 2.4 GHz and 867 MBit/s on the 5 GHz frequency.
ATTENTION: With LTE routers, you have to differentiate between LTE (Internet via mobile communications) and WLAN.
My router has a maximum LTE speed of 300 MBit/s, so I can’t achieve an internet speed of 867 MBit/s over 5GHz, even if it is theoretically possible.
You know how fast your WiFi is theoretically and if the WiFi speed is faster than your internet speed, you are on the safe side.
Here is a table of the most common WLAN standards if only this one is known.
A slow WLAN speed can also be due to the connection quality.
Step 5. Determine WLAN connection quality
The WLAN speed that arrives at your device mainly depends on the WLAN connection quality. You get an approximate impression of the quality from the WLAN connection symbol displayed on the device.
The connection quality is an important factor in testing the WiFi speed test.
While the icon differs marginally from device to device, it’s roughly the same almost everywhere and it’s easy to tell if your connection is good or bad.
If the symbol is filled in, the connection is very good, i.e., your device can “hear” the wireless router well.
It’s not guaranteed that everything is right with your WLAN, but it is a good indication.
But to get more data and numbers to work with, including the transmission speed from your WiFi router to your receiving device, you need a way to measure WiFi.
You should know everything about your WiFi and Internet connection and what it takes to identify possible problems.
If the WiFi is too slow, it is most likely that the WiFi connection quality is too bad.
It is best to check your Internet speed once next to the WLAN router and where you want to use your device and compare the results.
If the internet speed is poor in both places, your internet connection is probably the problem.
Regardless of this, it can also be due to the receiving device you are using because older devices, in particular, also use older WLAN technologies, which is why they are limited when receiving data. Therefore, use a relatively new device when testing!
A smartphone from the last 3-4 years is sufficient.