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New tool: Download Test Files
Thursday 05 June 2008 11:54:53 by Sebastien Lahtinen

As some of you may have noticed, we have added a new resource to our Tools section a couple of days ago which allows you to download files from our website so you can judge the performance of your connection. Unlike our speed test this doesn't provide you with an automatic measurement of your available bandwidth so is better suited to advanced users wishing to do their own analysis, but it does mean those with software to download multiple files simultaneously can test those out as well. It also runs as normal "web" traffic in terms of traffic shaping whereas our speed test may be classed differently by your service provider's traffic management system. You have the option of downloading a file ranging from 5MB to 1GB in size so it should be able to test connections of any speed. It is also likely to be of more use for those on connections faster than broadband, such as university students enjoying campus connectivity.

Please be aware that if you are on a broadband package with a cap or inclusive allowance, the large file downloads can easily use this up, so be careful particularly if it's not your own broadband connection.

If you're just looking to test your broadband speed for the first time, try our broadband speed test instead.


Posted by MarcusJClifford over 9 years ago
Would it be possible to also have a torrent file, say for the 200 MB file. That way people could check the speed for that sort of activity as well to identify traffic shaping.

It would be a totally legal torrent, so there would be no "fear" about seeding it etc.

It would need a good takeup to be a useful test, but if you got say 1000 seeds then it should be fine.
Posted by danman7_200 over 9 years ago
That's an excellent idea. I wonder if it could be measured and put into a table and published on the main page? Quite a few providers slow P2P to snail pace but don't bother telling customers when they are signing up. Sky and o2 no limits or throttling!
Posted by Ricksh over 9 years ago
Great idea but...

I have tested the downloads against a known download site i use to test that maxes me out... And they all show my connection as slower than it actually is.
Posted by ian9outof10 over 9 years ago
Great idea about the torrent, as these are the only files that don't rely on a server to send all the data. They can easily push my connection to its very limit.
Posted by uniquename over 9 years ago
"It is also likely to be of more use for those ... such as ... students enjoying campus connectivity."

I bet students doing speed tests is popular with connection managers! Pointless I would imagine as there is no way an uncontended use of the line is possible, and there is nothing the students can do with the info anyway.

Re seb's warning about bandwidth usage, a TBB speed test on a 6Mbps profile is over 21MB and BT over 16MB. Why should a light user be bothered about speed? When you want a MS software download or similar then it does make a difference.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Ricksh - The server that is hosting those files is on a gigabit link and we have sustained 600Mbps from it on one connection. It connects directly to the core which has gigabit links to LINX and LONAP for peering and transits, etc. There are a few 100Mbps private peers still which need to be upgraded but those shouldn't affect you. It's serving those files from RAM, not even reading them from the hard disk. The way the Internet works means that just because you have good connectivity to one download site doesn't mean you have good connectivity everywhere else. (part 1 of 2)
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
(part 2 of 2) When tracing to your IP, I'm getting huge packetloss/high latencies so it's a bit hard to diagnose even why you might be having issues. The server is was serving 121 Mbps at peak today with not a single discard/error so the port hasn't saturated at all.. Obviously I can't check every possible outbound route but nothing I have seen indicates it's an issue with the setup. Happy to work with any network operators wanting to diagnose things--That's partly why we set this up so there's a platform independent way to measure speed.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
uniquename - The warning was for users considering downloading the 1GB or 500MB files in particular.. With a low usage allowance, we wouldn't want them to unwittingly waste it :)
Posted by Ricksh over 9 years ago
Many thanks Seb, i'll try again at diff times of day. I'm on Be broadband you probs already know. Just trying to help with info. The idea is great, keep up the good work!
Posted by timmay over 9 years ago
Oh yay this just proves further that eclipse have configured speed test sites to get the highest priority! Speed test = 1Mbps/0.4Mpbs Throughput with 10 connections (using DownThemAll) only manages 0.5Mbps [sad] ... Oh well not long until I move out again.
Posted by jabns over 9 years ago
Cheers for the new tool but I am only managing to get about 10Mbit/s. is showing 34Mbit/s.

If it helps this is with 2 Be* connections loadbalanced. I am using 10 threads.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Timmay - It doesn't "prove" that. Our speed test runs usually on a different port. Have you tried the port 80 test? Even that isn't actually HTTP traffic and clever Layer 7 devices would know that so it's quite possible they are just shaping non-HTTP traffic differently to HTTP. Of course, I can't say what they are/aren't doing, but it's not conclusive based on just that :)

Have you tried using 2-4 connections in DownThemAll?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
I just want to say this is a nice addition to thinkbroadband and want to say thanks to seb and all the staff at thinkbroadband, ok its not an original idea, but it is damn useful to have a speedchecker and a tool to observe speed with a large download all in a single place... thanks guys & girls (assuming there are thinkbroadband girly staffers).
Posted by uniquename over 9 years ago
seb - Yes I know. I was trying to reinforce your warning by giving examples from my orn experience :)
Posted by kev445 over 9 years ago
Just to say I we load balance between several ISP's, when we use Virgin Media Cable we get 1Mbit and when we use UKOnline we achieve 14Mbit from the download files. However when download from other sites I can max out the Virgin Media connection.
Posted by PeteK over 9 years ago
VM have:
a. carp peering
b. massive amounts of traffic shaping.
We have a hosting customer who complains regularly that his picture heavy sites are slow, but whenever we look he is only acheiving 1-2Mb/s on his "10meg" VM connection and we can see this is being slowed at LoNap where it appears VM are well out of bandwidth. VM need to spend some money!
Posted by Keithei over 9 years ago
I have just attempted a test but the connection speed was so slow it had fallen to 8kb/s & was still falling so i gave up.
A few min before I had run a speed test That reported 2.7Mb/s & previosly a 11mb file was from another site came @ 289kb/s.
Too many peaple trying to test?
Posted by kev445 over 9 years ago
Are you able to offer the same files via FTP also? Brilliant service!
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