speedtest-cli: Not the answers I wanted

Months back, when I discovered bing, I was sickened to realize that my landlord was throttling our apartments’ bandwidth, with malice aforethought.

So speedtest-cli can only be a disappointment — not in what it does, but by what it tells.

kmandla@j05sdg1: ~$ speedtest-cli
Retrieving speedtest.net configuration...
Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Testing from ---------- (---.---.---.---)...
Selecting best server based on ping...
Hosted by -------------------- (----------, ---) [149.92km]: 171.661 ms
Testing download speed ..........................................
Download: 0.42 Mbit/s
Testing upload speed....................................................
Upload: 0.43 Mbit/s

That sounds awful generous. Knowing that the best line speeds I’ve ever seen into my apartment have never crossed 62 Kbps, I have hard time believing speedtest-cli is measuring between the target and my computer. It’s certainly not getting 0.42 Mbit/s from my measly Latitude D830 to Destination X.

And knowing that the speed between the apartment router and the ISP connection is much, much faster, I’m starting to wonder what exactly speedtest-cli is measuring. Or at least from where to where.

All the same, I suppose on a proper line, perhaps on public wireless, speedtest-cli might have a more realistic number to offer. Perhaps it will be a little more accurate for you.

5 thoughts on “speedtest-cli: Not the answers I wanted

  1. darkstarsword

    I’m guessing that you meant 62 Kilo *Bytes* per second, which is 507,904 *bits* per second and pretty close to the 0.42Mbps reported by speedtest-cli, so that sounds right to me.

    Line speeds are usually measured in bits per second (and uses the SI meaning of kilo and mega, i.e. 1000 and 1,000,000) since a bit is the smallest unit of transmission over a line, whereas most programs report download speeds in bytes per second (and uses the nearest power of 2 approximation of kilo and mega, i.e. 1024 and 1,048,576) since a byte is the smallest unit of addressable memory in a typical computer. The capitalisation on the B usually indicates whether it’s in Bytes (B) or bits (b).

    I’m kind of surprised by how low your speeds are, I’m on a 3G mobile broadband connection in Australia and thought this was pretty bad:
    Hosted by ….. [731.24 km]: 34.571 ms
    Download: 1.13 Mbit/s
    Upload: 0.87 Mbit/s

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      You’re right, I took those to be the same unit measurement and skipped over the math. My apologies.

      I have a feeling the apartment complex uses a single subscription line for something like a DSL connection, and then is throttled by a router that feeds through all the building. My landlord is way out of touch with technology, and insists this is adequate for “basic Internet service.” 🙄

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