Broadband shmroadband -- how do I track how slow my laptop runs?
August 16, 2010 9:43 AM   Subscribe

How do I track how slow my laptop really is going?

Hi folks,

At work, I am using a Sprint Novatel Wireless Ovation U727 to connect wirelessly with my laptop when I'm working remotely. To say the response speed has been dismal would be an understatement. No matter where I'm connecting -- the office, home, an auxiliary office, the airport, etc. -- the throughput just feels poky. It's not an exaggeration to say that it feels like dial-up instead of "mobile broadband."

Here's my question: how do I prove it?

I'd like to take this issue to IT, but I don't want to be perceived as another one of the "It's too slow!" whiners. I'd like to take real numbers and data to support my claims. How do I do that? Is there an app or utility that will track and keep a record of bandwidth speeds? I know that speed can be based on any number of random variables, so that's why I'd like to track this at different places and times. The more automated and easier the process, the better.

FWIW, the OS on my laptop is XP Professional SP3.

Thanks in advance.
posted by zooropa to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:57 AM on August 16, 2010

jeffamaphone has it.

Some more info, network speed can be judged by "throughput" (data over time) or "lag" (time to get a certain.)
For example a pallet of DVD's delivered by truck has a great throughput numbers ( huge amount of data divided by a week) but horrible lag (a week.)

Speedtest (I believe) focuses on throughput, you can quickly check lag by opening command prompt (windows key + r then type cmd) and entering:
ping (some website or in network server)

You'll get a list for four "Reply from xx.xx.xx.xx" lines with a time in milliseconds. 16-32 milliseconds is typical....
posted by oblio_one at 10:28 AM on August 16, 2010

Try manually setting and using other DNS servers (e.g., openDNS or Google), instead of your ISP's. If the lag is in the intial connection to any given website, this may be the problem.
posted by astrochimp at 10:32 AM on August 16, 2010

Netalyzer from UC Berkely is another pretty awesome network diagnostics tool to run.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:26 AM on August 16, 2010

Speedtest should show you ping times as well (right below Download speed). It's the ping time to wherever it does the test... I assume. You can pick different servers around the world.

My ping time to whatever local server it wants to use is 8ms. To Vancouver, BC is 62ms. So, you know, try a few different ones. Just be consistent.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:26 PM on August 16, 2010

Oh, they also have Looks like it requires Java though. :-/
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:28 PM on August 16, 2010

Thank you, everyone! I'm very grateful for the assistance.
posted by zooropa at 5:06 PM on August 16, 2010

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