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BBC retires its iPlayer diagnostic speed test tool
Friday 16 May 2014 16:08:41 by Andrew Ferguson

The BBC iPlayer speed checker was a useful tool for those chasing to see how their connection might perform for video streaming, but alas the tool appears to have been retired and looks set to be replaced by a table showing what speeds different types of iPlayer content will require.

Of course other speed test tools exist, but the majority are designed to show the highest possible number so that people are happy, our flash based speed check is possibly the only one that conducts a single thread download test (tbbx1) and a multiple thread test (httpx6). The single thread test should show how contention or congestion is impacting on a broadband connection and is closer to what you would expect for a video stream rather than when using multiple downloads at the same time. On a good connection the two download tests should be near identical, but when issues like congestion, bad RWIN/MTU values are affecting speeds you will see the two results diverge.

Of course not everyone can run flash and to that end we have another speed test that does not need flash or java and thus will run on the majority of tablets and phones as well as computers. The tester is marked as beta because we are still adding various enhancements, with this weeks change being that we are detecting the hardware you are using automatically. The web based test does not perform a single thread test currently.


Posted by michael-scott over 2 years ago
Well I discovered its removal immediately because I was using it regularly along with SamKnows/Thinkbroadband/VuDu Streaming Test and I will miss it greatly. Pity! It's certainly interesting if you want to stream as high a rate as necessary for Super HD with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound on Netflix,7 Mbps plus required. I get about 7.8 Mbps at 1.1 miles from the fibre cabinet. If I was at the cabinet I would get 38 Mbps. Ah well......
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 2 years ago
The results between the new speedtester and the Flash one seem to be wildly different.

The former returns a HTTPx6 result of 11.38Mbps, whilst the Flash one returns 30.75Mbps
Posted by chrysalis over 2 years ago
the tool was useless, I would pretty much all the time get massive speeds on it, but still it buffers. So the result of the tool it seems bears little relation to actual streaming performance.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@MrTAToad2 which PC/browser combination, since we know it is more than capable of testing Virgin Media cable and even see people with iPads getting over 90 Meg.
Posted by BrianWood over 2 years ago
'alternate' means to flip from one to the other state. 'Alternative' means the other one. Better to use 'another'.
Posted by stanmor over 2 years ago
Nice to see a test I can run on iPad. Results seem about right, but can it be enhanced to save results as with the flash test, very useful to have a record.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@stanmor once we move from the beta labs area to the main site we will integrate the linking to your logged in account.
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