Technology Explained

How to Test Your Home Network Speed (And Decipher the Results)

James Hirtz Updated 12-12-2019

Do you ever ask yourself how all your devices utilize your home network? Over time, you’re adding new devices, but you don’t know how this impacts your network in turn.

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That’s why you need to test your home network speed. In the past, you could skirt by just testing your internet connection. But a typical home utilized less technology back then.

You can conduct your own internal network speed test using one simple program: LAN Speed Test. With easy-to-read results, you can finally check your home network speed whenever you want.

Install LAN Speed Test

Before you can test your home network speed, you’ll need the LAN Speed Test program. Totusoft provides the base version of the LAN Speed Test for free but also offers a licensed option.

If you pay the extra amount, you can register the software for both your macOS and Windows computers. There are also several subtle data management perks as well as functionality-based ones. These mostly apply to more advanced users that want to challenge their network or dig deep on their data research.

For the purpose of a quick test, the lite free version does great.

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Download: LAN Speed Test (Free, $10.00 for the full license)

Set Up Network Sharing and Use Your Public Folder

Once you have LAN Speed Test installed, you’ll need a pair of networked computers to complete the test. The simplest set-up involves using the Public folder as your testing ground. To do this, you need to have network sharing turned on before you can access the Public folder.

If you’ve never tried network sharing before, look at how to easily share files between Mac and Windows How to Easily Share Files Between Mac and Windows If you use both Windows and macOS, here's an easy way to transfer files from Mac to Windows and vice versa. Read More for a quick run-down.

When you open LAN Speed Test for the first time, you want to set the right folder for the test. Click Start Test or select the ellipsis next to the Folder pull-down menu to select your folder. From there, you can navigate to the Public folder depending on your system type.

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For macOS, navigate to Macintosh HD > Users > [username] > Public.  For Windows, simply navigate to C:\Users\Public.

Perform Your Home Network Speed Test

After you’ve made it to your shared folder, you’ll want to adjust the packet size to set-up your test. The packet refers to the test file you’re sending off to the shared folder.

Totusoft recommends starting with a packet size of 1MB for a quick test. But you can always scale up the packet size in repeat tests.

In simpler terms, you’re essentially deciding between creating a short or prolonged test of your network’s transfer speeds. As you adjust the file size, the duration of the home network test will vary. It can last from a few seconds to hours depending on your packet size.

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A screenshot of the home tab on LAN Speed Test
Image Credit: Totusoft

For licensed users, you can also send off more than one packet. With the added packets, you have more incentive to vary the minimum and maximum values. The added option isn’t mandatory, but it can create a more realistic testing scenario.

Regardless, if any of this information seems too confusing, just think of writing as your upload speed and reading as your download speed over your home network. Totusoft also offers online help documents for the more nuanced details of the program.

The terminology can be jarring at first. Just remember it’s all about how to test your network speed at home.

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Figure Out What Matters in Your Report

After the writing and reading progress with the packet finishes, LAN Speed Test provides you with a two-column breakdown of each.

A screenshot of the default results view for LAN Speed Test
Image Credit: Totusoft

Depending on your needs, you can utilize different aspects of the test results. However, for the majority, you’re just going to want to focus on the final test result of Mbps and MBps.

Mbps stands for megabits-per-second and refers to your home network’s download and update speeds. Just don’t confuse Mbps with MBps which refers to megabytes per second. Megabytes would refer to the file size or the amount of data transferred.

Use Your Report Information

With those notes in mind, you must be wondering what exactly you can do with those numbers. Mbps provides your download and upload speeds for your network, so you can easily use this test to check if anything seems off with your speed.

If you’re running into issues with your speeds seeming oddly low, you should look into things that might be slowing down your home Wi-Fi network.

A screenshot of LAN Speed Test's results in chart form
Image Credit: Totusoft

You can also use the MBps value to determine the amount of time it would take to transfer any file. For example, if I have an upload rate of 54.26MBps, it would take me 2.7644 seconds to write a 150MB file. You simply divide the size of the file you want to transfer by your upload rate.

Regardless, you can project the effectiveness of your setup after the home network speed test. If your rate falls below the promised speed rates, and it consistently underperforms then you might need to consider replacing your router. Sometimes a router simply can’t handle the increased traffic load, so an upgrade can bring new speed peaks.

Staying in touch with your network’s state can save a lot of hassle and headache if you can determine a cause when anything goes awry.

The Usefulness of an Internal Network Speed Test

Knowing the exact state of your network can help you plan out precisely what your home can handle.

Whether streaming video or transferring files between two computers, you need to be in touch with your numbers—especially if you don’t want there to be a loss in quality.

LAN Speed Test provides a free option that does the major math for you and gives you either a quick or in-depth view of your home network speed. But if you’re still running into network issues, consider looking into these diagnostic tricks and simple fixes for network problems Network Problems? 7 Diagnostic Tricks and Simple Fixes Network problems must be diagnosed before they can be resolved. This article covers seven simple tricks for fixing your network. Read More .

Related topics: Computer Networks, Troubleshooting, Wi-Fi.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Sam C
    December 30, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Just use speedtest.net ... it is good enough.

  2. Patrick Bureau
    February 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    and older app that is still relevant, as I found the problem with my wireless TV was the repeater, changed location of it and established a stronger signal and speed throughput and solve the issue that was bothering me for weeks

  3. Guest
    August 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    This is a great 'real-world' test on how your network is performing. If your drive has write cache enabled (most do) then this form of testing (small files, many times) works very well.

  4. nda3183
    July 23, 2010 at 6:02 am

    I just want to say that this is actually not a good way to determine actual network speed if you are running anything resembling a 100Mbps network or greater. This test fails simply because the bottleneck will be the hard drive as that tends to max out at about 10MBps (80Mbps) on writes for a normal non-SSD hard drive. The best option is to find a tool that runs only from memory and runs on two computers to determine the network speed between the two without introducing any unnecessary steps. I have heard good things about iperf but have not used it myself.

    • Anonymous
      July 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm

      Right, I was going to say the same, in fact windows 7's explorer already gives these statistics if you simply copy from or to the share. What I am interested is in the "raw" network throughput that I am able to get, to troubleshoot if my gigabit network is really working as it should.

  5. Ssims98
    July 21, 2010 at 3:39 am

    I found the tool very useful. I use a gigabit switch,power line networking and wireless networking (802.11n). My Mbps were what I expected for my gigabit switch transfer at 700, but it looks like my 200 Mbps power line networking is only delivering around 25. That would explain my DVD streaming troubles to my roku box.

  6. Guest
    July 17, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Official website is here:

    http://www.totusoft.com/lanspeed2.html

    Freeware v1.1.1 available at bottom of that page.

    • M.S. Smith
      July 19, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for finding that. I didn't think they had one.