Mlab Speed Test Vs Ookla Speed Test

Average Mlab Speed Test Vs Ookla Internet Speed

Download Speed
Upload Speed
Ping Latency

Ookla:

It is the company that provides speed test services for websites like speedtest.net and pingspeed.com [2]. They also provide an application to do this on your own computer/device via the Speedtest app for iOS, Android, Windows PC (XP or higher), and Mac OS X 10.9+ [10].

M-Lab:

It has a different approach to assessing bandwidth. It uses tests called "active" tests while most testing companies use "passive" ones [3]. Passive means that you are only downloading something from a website and they are not sending anything to you; active means that you are uploading and downloading which is more accurate in determining your actual bandwidth speeds. M-Lab is a non-profit organization based at New York University and community-supported by the Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research Award, Ford Foundation, and others [4].

These terms are used very frequently when we talk about how fast our internet connection is.

Bandwidth:

A measure of the capacity of a computer network or an individual data transmission channel. For example, a T1 line has a bandwidth of 1.54 megabytes per second (Mbps). The term can also mean video and audio quality or resolution, which is measured in bits per second (bps) rather than bytes per second.

Latency:

The time delay between sending and receiving data over the Internet. It's usually measured in milliseconds (thousandths of a second). Latency is considered to be one of the biggest bottlenecks for online gaming because even very minor increases in latency have dramatic effects on performance. Ping time refers to latency only; it measures how long it takes for an Internet packet to make a round trip. This is used to estimate the distance between your computer and another computer.

Now most of us have experience with those two terms, but now let's look into two tools that help us in measuring the actual speed of our internet connection. These are PiPing and M-Lab Speed Test Tools.

Ping:

 

It is designed to measure latency only if you are using it through the command line, but if you go to its website then there is an option available called as "PING (short for Packet INternet Groper)…It's useful for troubleshooting network problems". So if you are really technically sound or interested enough then just use this tool through the command line, but if you just want to test your internet speed then I would recommend you use M-Lab Speed Test Tool.

Both are top-notch services that can provide you with a snapshot of your current broadband plan. M-lab is a bit more technical, but if you're into that kind of thing, it can also be quite interesting. Ookla is much easier to use and has additional data like ping (the time it takes to get from point A to point B) that might interest some users. The only thing missing with Ookla is upload speed tests - they have none. We'll take a look at each one in turn below.

M-Lab Speed Test: Pros & Cons:

  • Con: When running the speed test without app switching, the results page reloads again before showing the map. That means you must wait for both pages to load completely every time you switch devices or locations if you want to compare previous results.  

  • Pro: The map is a cached image from Google Maps, and the colors match what you see in the desktop version.  

  • Con: You can't move around on the map with your finger (iPad) or trackpad. There is no pinch-to-zoom to zoom in to specific areas, nor any way to scroll around. All you can do is pan around by dragging the image left/right/up/down.  

  • Pro: Touching any region will show basic information about that area - ranked by average download speed.  

  • Pro: Along with location name results, there are also "city" names for most major cities as well as state abbreviations when appropriate (but no zip codes).  

  • Cons: No indication of upload speed.  

  • Con: The results page reloads again before showing the map. You have to wait for both pages to load completely every time you switch devices or locations if you want to compare previous results.  

  • Pro: Touching any region will show basic information about that area - ranked by average download speed.  

  • Pro: Along with location name results, there are also "city" names for most major cities as well as state abbreviations when appropriate (but no zip codes).  

  • Cons: No indication of upload speed.

Ookla Speedtest: Pros & Cons:

  • Pro: Shows upload speeds! This is a big and important feature that M-Lab doesn't offer at all. If your primary need is to see upload speeds, Ookla is the way to go.  

  • Pro: When running the speed test without app switching, the results page reloads only once. That means you can switch between devices and/or locations and immediately compare previous results.  

  • Pro: You can move around on the map with your finger (iPad) or trackpad. Pinch-to-zoom works as it does in desktop Google Maps for close-up views of specific areas. Panning happens by dragging a worm icon that follows your finger movement on top of the map.  

  • Con: The regions listed are not ranked by average download speed, so you'll have to look at each region separately.

Which Service Should I Use?

If you are looking for a simple free internet speed test that shows upload speeds, then Ookla is the way to go.  The M Lab service has more features and technical information but it's not necessarily easier to use than Ookla. However, there are some significant cons that make this tool less-than-ideal for most users: 1) in order to see previous results from other devices or locations, you must wait for both pages to completely load on each device (requires app switching), and 2) no indication of upload speed (very important). In my opinion, neither one of these issues is acceptable when doing any sort of comparison testing between different plans.

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