r/techsupport Nov 15 '22

Speed test says i have 15 Mbs/s dowload speed when in reality i only have 1.5/2.5 Open | Networking

So i have a 15 Mbs/s internet package, but my dowloads speeds are always between 1,5 and 2,5 mbs, it always has been like this, but i dont dowload big files very often, so i never cared to look to much into it. But can someone please explain to me why that is? When i torrent the dowload speed never exceds 2,5 but i am supposed to have 15 Mbs, am I being scammed by my provider? Speed test also says 15 Mbs/s.


17 comments sorted by


u/lukajda33 Nov 15 '22

Different units, speed testers use Mbps, browsers and most downloaders use MBps (notice lowercase vs uppercase B).

1 byte (B) = 8 bits (b)

1 MBps = 8 Mbps

15 Mbps you get in speed tester = 1.875 MBps you see in the downloader.

Open up task manager when downloading something and check how much bandwith browser uses, it uses Mbps too so you should see number closer to 15, while you will still see the lower number in the downloader.


u/Intelligent-Put-8208 Nov 15 '22

ahhhh that makes sense, thanks for the explanation


u/Bikelangelo Nov 16 '22

You sound smart, I am dumb, please ELI5?


u/p0i50nd4r7 Nov 16 '22

It's super easy and here's a cheat. If your provider says you get 100 Mbps expect to download at 10MBps in browser, you just move the decimal place one to the left no matter the number. 15Mbps = 1.5MBps. 1000Mbps (or gigabit) = 100MBps for your download speed. Hope that helps!


u/Bikelangelo Nov 16 '22

Thank you, that did help!

I guess I'm still a bit confused because my dad (lives in another country) was using a speed test (Ookle, I think was the name) while walking around to various parts of his home. No matter where, it said he was getting 4.7(ish)MBps, which is OK as his provider said anywhere from 3-5 (he's quite rural). This doesn't make sense to me because I've moved around that home and my connection varied wildly depending how far away I am from the router.

Now, the bones of why I am pursuing this trail of curiosity is because I got my folks an Alexa Dot. It is to help them keep up with the times as they age and as a great way to call them and speak to them both via loudspeaker. Recently the signal has been very weak and its skipping words every few seconds, same for them receiving my voice.

Any big brain thoughts on how to fix this/what's happening? Much appreciate all help from the great Internet fam.


u/dirk150 Nov 16 '22

For a WiFi device, it will automatically try to figure out what settings to talk to the router at. If it’s strong, it can be really high. If it’s weak but not weak enough to disconnect, the slowest it will go is 14 Mbps. If they haven’t touched their router settings, 40 Mbps is more likely. So their internet speed isn’t affected by weak WiFi signal because the internet speed is slow.

What is their upload speed? DSL, Cable, and satellite have upload speeds slower than download speeds. Sometimes it’s 1/10 of the speed. If their upload speed is really low, this will cause call problems. Also the Echo Dot call feature isn’t the most optimized for low speeds.


u/Bikelangelo Nov 16 '22

You must have missed my above comment where I explained that I am dumb as a cinder block.

I shall attempt to catch you up. 3-5MBps is what the provider says and usually that is fine for Echo Dot calls, but recently it hasn't been cutting the mustard.

However, my Dad doing Ookla test on his phone says it's pretty much 4.7MBps anywhere he goes in the house. Which can't be true because my room is at the far end and the signal is abysmal there.

*He confirmed he was connected to the WiFi and not on Mobile Data, which was my first assumption.

It wrinkles my brain. Though, I couldn't give a flying fart, as long as I can get the calls working smoothly again, that's all I want. Speaking to them both at the same time is much nicer and like "family time" than having two separate conversations any time I call, which isn't often... I need to call my folks more and be a better son. Well, I didn't expect this to turn into a self reflection story but here we are, laid bare.


u/dirk150 Nov 16 '22

When he says 4.7 MBps, is that both Download and Upload? Or are they different numbers? Almost all the time, Upload is much slower than Download. A slow Upload will give you issues on calls.

Also, a 5 MBps plan is usually advertised as a 40 Mbps plan. Do you know for certain that the speed test readout is a capital B? Ookla's speedtest doesn't show MBps by default. If it is MBps, the speedtest app would display it as MB/s. The website doesn't even give the option.

If it is a 5 MBps = 40 Mbps plan, the upload speed would likely be 6 Mbps or 40 Mbps. If 6 Mbps, the call may suffer if anybody on the same network is streaming videos in the background. For example, I just opened up Youtube and streamed a video in 720p. My task manager showed downloads of up to 5 Mbps, and uploads of up to 0.7 Mbps at various times.

If it is a 5 Mbps plan, the upload speed would likely be 1 Mbps. In that case, literally any other internet usage would cause the call to suffer. Voice calls need 0.1 Mbps to 0.5 Mbps of upload speed, and even loading a new website would use this up and cause congestion.


u/Bikelangelo Nov 16 '22

I love you and your wrinkly brain. There's a good chance that both of my folks had their phones connected and possibly even had things playing in the background.

Regards upload and download, it's 4.7 download and, as you said, probably around 1 upload, though I must verify. But ya, it's super rural so they have dogshit Internet speeds.

My take away from this is asking them to kill their WiFi on their phones when I'm about to call on Echo. Thank you for taking the time to speak to a dope.

Edit: fuck my brain


u/dirk150 Nov 16 '22

You're welcome, and heck no you aren't a dope. This is not obvious to most people. Internet is advertised with the download speed, how the heck would most people know about the upload speed being much slower? My buddy is a software engineering manager at a large tech company, and he didn't know he had slow upload speeds, and that these were the cause of his video conferencing issues.


u/shaun2312 Nov 16 '22

OP is confused by bits and bytes


u/JohnP-USMC Nov 16 '22

Another thing to consider. The far end up-load speed, divider by users and maybe server load. When I test speed at noon compared to midnight the results. Include a bottleneck between servers.


u/YAKELO Nov 16 '22

Yeah, everyone is always very quick to jump on the bit/bytes thing when similar questions to this come up. But sometimes it could literally just be that they're downloading from a slow server. Or just general ISP throttling for certain types of traffic.


u/ChessIsAwesome Nov 16 '22

The old megabits megabytes mind fuck.


u/HighMassHobbies Nov 16 '22

Another possible factor: ISPs often often game speed tests systems, by placing test nodes within the local ISP network. This might give great results for your test to your home, but the bottleneck often is between your ISP and their upstreams or peers, meaning you will see different results between the speed test and real traffic. Use fast.com, which is run by Netflix, and that will (most of the time) give you a better number than other sites, since Netflix doesn't to my knowledge allow local ISP-hosted versions of their test endpoint - they are always "off-net" for ISPs. This isn't perfect - maybe your ISP has great peered interconnects with Netflix and terrible transit upstream paths for everything else, but never trust just one viewpoint for testing.