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Understanding Ireland’s Broadband Speed Tests

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Broadband providers continually brag about having the fastest broadband in Ireland, but what is a good broadband speed? Are you receiving the broadband speeds you were promised? Our complete guide to broadband speed allows you to verify your internet connection using our speed test tool and, more importantly, understand the results.


Why is a fast broadband speed connection important?

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Whether it's for your home, farm, or business, faster broadband speeds mean better connectivity for those online meetings, online classes, and any other browsing you need to do.

Research has shown that, over the course of a full day's work, regularly downloading documents, even a few seconds delay in the loading pages can decrease productivity. We would suggest the same can apply to those having to regularly download documents for their studies.

Not only that, but with the increase in restrictions due to Covid, more people are now working and studying from home. Most family households will have multiple users using the same internet connection at the same time and since each person is ‘asking’ to download information from the internet at the same time, a faster broadband speed ensures everyone can use the web without hassle.

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What is a good broadband speed in Ireland?

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Most broadband providers in Ireland will be able to offer broadband speeds averaging between 24 Mbps to 150 Mbps.

Some providers can now even offer broadband speeds as fast as 1,000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps). Depending on how many users and devices are connected at the same time, you may not need such a high-velocity plan.

To put these numbers in perspective, Netflix says watching a movie in HD online requires 5 Mbps approximately. Consequently, there would be little use in paying top dollar for a broadband plan with speeds above 24 - 150 Mbps for a single household dwelling.

What does Mbps stand for? Mbps stands for Megabits Per Second. Every bit is a tiny unit of data. 1 Megabit represents 1 million tiny units of data. When measuring broadband speed, the more Megabits you have, the more information you can transmit or receive per second. Think of it as if you are trying to get water through a pipe. The wider the pipe, the more water you can fit through it. This is exactly how broadband works.

Broadband Speed Test in Ireland

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Wondering how fast your broadband speed is? No problem - just use our broadband speed tester tool! Not only will it measure your download speed and upload speed, but also the latency.

No worries, you don’t need to enter any personal details, nor do we want to know the make and model of your router! Simply click the button below and in a matter of seconds, you will get your results.

If possible, we recommend you conduct this broadband speed test via an ethernet cable, rather than a wireless connection. Ethernet cables offer a more stable connection. Therefore, it will measure the broadband speeds you have at your home, farm, or business more accurately.

Alternatively, practically every provider offers to complete a broadband speed test via their website. The Eir broadband speed test is quite popular in Ireland as is the Virgin Media broadband speed test page.

Now that you have your broadband speed results, you can now verify if you are receiving the broadband speeds you are paying for!

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Understanding your broadband speed test results

You now have your test results at hand, but are perhaps wondering if the broadband speed is fast enough for your needs?

There are two broadband speeds you want to examine:

  • Download speeds: How quickly content can be downloaded from the web like movies or music.
  • Upload speeds: How quickly you can upload content to the web, like attachments to emails or load files onto a server.

Download speeds are important to people who do a lot of browsing and online viewing. Such as watching movies or attending online classes.

Upload speeds are important to people who play online videogames or participate with their camera and audio in online meetings.

To further answer this question, we look at other common internet uses and the speeds each activity requires.

Required Broadband Speeds
Internet Activity Broadband Speed Required
Sending email 1 Mbps
Social Media Activity 1-5 Mbps
Listen to music (Spotify) 2 Mbps
Watch movie in HD 5 Mbps
Online gaming (Call of Duty, Fortnite, etc) At least 10 Mbps

Remember, these are the required speeds for each activity. Someone who's playing online videogames on their PC, has music streaming to their living room speakers, and is talking via Whatsapp to friends from their smartphone, will need at least 14 Mbps broadband speeds for all three internet activities to operate smoothly.

The same calculations are required if there are multiple people connected to the same router. Simply tally the broadband speed required for each activity to determine the adequate broadband speeds you need.

You will also want to verify if the results match what your broadband provider promised you in terms of broadband speeds. If the broadband speed test results are significantly lower than what you are paying for, you should contact them as you are being overcharged.

What does latency mean on the broadband speed test result?

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Our broadband speed test not only covers the download and upload speed, but also the latency.

Latency is the time necessary to send data and receive a response. Think of latency as when you drive a car. If the broadband speed is like the car speed, latency is the time required for the car to start moving after you hit the accelerator pedal.

Ideally, your latency result should be well below 30 ms (milliseconds). Anything higher than this number will result in lagging when navigating the web. For example, when a Skype call starts to break up or gets choppy all of a sudden, it's often because of high latency.

Why is it important to conduct a broadband speed test?

Conducting your own broadband speed test is very useful for various reasons, namely:

  • Confirm you are receiving the speeds your provider promised
  • Can help you troubleshoot connectivity issues
  • Makes you better informed when choosing a broadband plan

Why does my broadband plan say ‘speeds up to’?

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Great point! Indeed, broadband providers advertise the maximum broadband speed they can offer.

This means that there will be periods when the broadband speed you have at your home is lower than the maximum speed.

Broadband providers advertise ‘speeds up to’ because the broadband speed you get at your home will depend on the following:

  1. The type of broadband connection you have
  2. The router you have
  3. Where you live (rural broadband tends to be slower than urban broadband)
  4. The number of devices connected to the router.

While this may not be crystal clear for everyone, the one thing we would like you to remember about the importance of conducting a broadband speed test for your home is, ensure you are getting what you are paying for!

If your broadband provider promised you speeds up to 100 Mbps and you are only receiving a quarter of that, you are being overcharged!

Know your rights and contact the citizens' information services for assistance. Your broadband provider needs to respect their end of their contract by supplying the speeds they promised. Feel free to examine our various broadband guides and learn more about the services you should receive from your provider.

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