How (and why) do I use Linode's speedtest?

How should I use Linode's speedtest

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On speedtests in general

Speed tests are generally accepted as a basis to determine throughput on a network connection between two points, such as your linode and the server you’re trying to connect to. One way to define throughput is the rate of successful message delivery over a communication channel. Throughput is usually measured in bits per second (bit/s or bps), and sometimes in data packets per second (p/s or pps) or data packets per time slot.

It is important to note that a speed test is not always a definitive measure on true throughput. Many factors including distance from the server you’re trying to connect to, software installed on your linode and network outages or slowdowns all can skew test results. Therefore, to make sure you’re getting the most accurate results, you may want to try a few tests before making a firm determination.

The ping is the reaction time of your connection–how fast you get a response after you've sent out a request. A fast ping means a more responsive connection, especially in applications where timing is everything (like video games). Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms).

The download speed is how fast you can pull data from the server to you. Most connections are designed to download much faster than they upload, since the majority of online activity, like loading web pages or streaming videos, consists of downloads. Download speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

The upload speed is how fast you send data from you to others. Uploading is necessary for sending big files via email, or in using video-chat to talk to someone else online (since you have to send your video feed to them). Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

Linode’s speedtest, which is found at www.linode.com/speedtest, is at first blush, really a test of download speed. From the time you click the download button to the time that it finishes downloading, should be one way of indicating the speed the datacenter from which you downloaded the 100MB packet.

If you would like to test the speed from one datacenter to another, you may want to move the 100 MB packet to your Linode and then copy the file to another data center. That will test the speed of the datacenter you are to the datacenter you are sending to. Depending on whether you set up the data transfer as a push or a pull may influence the speedtest. Please remember if you want to compare to data centers, do use the same method to test.

In order to determine connectivity, you can also run an mtr report by running the mtr command to verify the quality of your networking connection. Specifically, you will need:

--> From your local computer, to run: mtr -rwbzc 100 <your Linode IPv4 address goes here>; and
--> From your Linode to run: mtr -rwbzc 100 < your local PC IPv4 address goes here>.

Below is a link with some further guidance on how to read your mtr report:
--> https://www.linode.com/docs/networking/diagnostics/diagnosing-network-issues-with-mtr

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