Broadband speed refers to the data transfer rate from the internet to your computer. Broadband speed tests measure the amount of time needed to download or upload a given amount of data (e.g. file of certain size) through the broadband connection and is expressed in Kbps (Kbit/s) or Mbps (Mbit/s).
Many sites offer free broadband speed check. However, the results can vary greatly depending on the time of day, the amount of congestion on the internet, and the number of people connecting to the server, etc. If you run the test from a server outside your country, or if you are running some internet security programs simultaneously (for security reason, do not disable your internet security programs when you run a speed test), your speed test result may also be affected.
Broadband speed tests are usually used for curiosity reason to see how fast your broadband connection is. Occasionally it can be used to diagnose a problem if the data transfer rate is always significantly lower than what is stated in your service plan.
Many internet service providers list the maximum connection speed which is the speed cap they impose for a service plan. The actual connection speed is not guaranteed to reach this maximum data transfer rate. Here are some of the factors that can prevent you from getting the maximum broadband speed:
1) Distance of your telephone line from ISP operation center (for DSL service)
2) Number of users attempting to get access to the internet in your neighborhood (cable internet)
3) Condition of telephone wiring / cable wiring in your location
4) Computer configuration
5) Internet traffic congestion
6) Server and the routing speed of the websites you visit