Channel 5’s Gadget Show have been running a campaign to get internet service provides to be more honest about how fast your broadband connection really is, they often use terms like “up to 8MB” where you pay for 8Mb broadband but in some cases you my be lucky to achieve download speeds above 2Mb and then your upload speed is usually less than half you download speed.
While it’s true that the actual upload and download speeds you can achieve varies based on a number of factors including, in the case of an ADSL connection, how close you are to the telephone exchange but also how many internet connected devices are sharing the available bandwidth both at your local exchange and in the home, these days there can often be several internet connected device in the average home.
In a corporate environment the number of network attached devices is even more significant as everyone shares a finite amount of network bandwidth for not only browsing internet but also local network traffic, file and print sharing, VOIP, web services, the list goes on.
With this in mind I thought it would be interesting to see what the Gadget Show’s broadband speed test made of Edge Hill University’s JANET connection from one of our new Sunray terminals on an average day.
After a number of tests throughout the day I managed to achieve around 15mb – 16mb download and even as much as 17mb upload speed which seems to me to be a pretty respectable score considering we have several thousand network attached devices form desktop PCs and thin client terminals to VOIP telephones and multiple servers supporting various services.
Each Sunray user will be connected to one of eight Windows Server 2003 terminal servers which are actually doing all the work, each server has a 1GB Ethernet connection direct to the core of the network, two Alcatel OmniSwitch 9700 located in separate machine rooms with 10Gb redundant fibre links between buildings.
An analogy for those less familiar with this terminology is that it’s like every workstation on our main campus having there own 16mb broadband connection only with twice the upload speed you would normally get at home.
There are a number of broadband speed test websites you can try often giving different results however two examples are listed below, the Gadget Show speed test which was used for this test and speedtest.net which achieved significantly higher results to London and the Washington DC, between 40 – 60 Mb. And of course you will never transfer data faster the network at the other end is able to. Why not try your home broadband connection for your self.