Measuring network speeds and some factors affecting them

A network rating of a gigabit per second does not easily tell how long it will take to download a file.

This work looks at hardwired ethernet, wireless, powerline, and NBN as media for transporting data. The Firefox web browser was used to measure the speed of user data transfer. So first a model relating user data to network load was developed. Then three different hardware PCs were connected in pairs and upload and downloads speeds measured. The speed drop when going onto WiFi was measured together with the effect of distance between sender and receiver. A hardwired ethernet using powerline adapters was also measured. Finally, Australia's NBN is inspected. On the fastest available service, the download speed was measured over 8 consecutive days at one hour intervals.

The data obtained are presented as tables of statistics together with graphs. All data was obtained using readily availble parts.

Main conclusion: On networks nothing is constant.

Document version: Revision A