Checking Your Connection Speed
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If you have users who are complaining that their Internet connection speed is too slow, there are all sorts of tests that you can do to check out what's happening with the connection. Many involve just making sure that the entries on the TCP/IP properties sheet are correct, and indeed this is where many administrators stop, with a shake of the head and something like, "Well, everything seems to be OK, so...."
Now you can do more. A free Web site called PCPitstop, which is staffed by some of the former techies from and contributors to Windows Magazine, offers some ActiveX control that you can click on to test Internet connection speed right in the browser. The site will download random text from its Website to the connected PC, measure the time for the download and report on the connection speed.
If the speed isn't what you should be getting, (the site offers benchmarks for what you can reasonably expect) and you're pretty sure that the problem isn't in the connection beyond the PC (your LAN, your backbone connection, etc.) then you can download various fixes to solve the problem. Many of them come in the form or Registry patches, so you should, of course, backup the registry before you make any changes. If something goes wrong, you can then get back to where you started, even if it was slow enough to get you to the download patch in the first place.
PCPitstop will also test a user's PC, compare it with other similar PCs, and offers a database of test results you can use to compare your company's PCs with those that other users have had tested. There are also some diagnostic downloads to check out connection problems, and more.
David Gabel is Executive Technology Editor at TechTarget.com.
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