Understanding Network Speeds


Usually displayed in ms (milliseconds), this value shows how long it takes for data to reach its destination. Many factors can affect your latency such as the physical distance between your home and the destination, wireless vs wired, as well as network congestion.

Download Speed

Usually displayed in Mbps (Megabits per second), this value shows how fast data can flow into your network from an external source. 

Examples: Streaming videos, downloading software. 

Upload Speed

Usually displayed in Mbps (Megabits per second), this value shows how fast data is able to leave your network to an external destination.

Examples: Uploading videos or files.

Packet Loss

Usually displayed as a percentage, packet loss can occur when one or more data packets traveling across a network fail to reach their destination. Packet loss can be caused by errors in data transmission. This is more commonly seen over wireless networks or networks with heavy congestion. Ideally, this would be 0% or as low as possible. 

What Can Impact My Network Health?

There are many factors that may contribute to overall network health and speed that need to be taken into consideration.

Number of devices

If other devices in your home are actively using the network, you may see lower speeds during a speed test, as the test is unable to utilize the full strength of the connection. 

Router location

Your router is what broadcasts the WiFi signal throughout the home. If your router is very distant from the connected device you may see lower speeds and worse connection quality. 

Interface / NIC Speed / Cable

Not all routers or devices are capable of fully utilizing the full bandwidth of a connection. You'll want to make sure that your router supports 10/100/1000 Mbps to utilize the full strength of the connection. If you have a 250 Mbps service but your router or device only supports 10/100 Mbps, you won't see speeds above 100 Mbps because your speed is being limited by the interface speed of your router or device. 

Not all cables support 1 Gbps speeds. You'll want to make sure the cable you are using is compatible with the speeds you desire. The most common types of cables you will encounter are listed below. 

  • Cat-5 can support speeds up to 100Mbps.
  • Cat-5e can support speeds up to 1000Mbps.
  • Cat-6 can support speeds up to 10Gbps.
  • Cat-6a can support speeds up to 10Gbps.

Wi-fi vs Wired

In most circumstances, you will see a faster speed with a wired connection when compared to wireless. Network speeds over wireless are heavily determined by the strength of the signal your router broadcasts in the home, as well as the wireless protocol it uses. Wireless is also subject to interference with other signals. Not all routers support the most up-to-date wireless protocol. Please see the table below for more information. 

Wireless Protocols

You'll want to make sure that your router supports the protocol with the wireless speeds you desire. 

Wifi VersionWi-fi ProtocolFrequencySpeed
WiFi 1802.11b2.4 GHzUp to 11 Mbps
WiFi 2802.11a5 GHzUp to 54 Mbps
WiFi 3802.11g2.4 GHzUp to 54Mbps
WiFi 4802.11n2.4 GHz & 5GHzUp to 300 Mbps
WiFi 5802.11ac5 GHz

Up to 433 Mbps (1x1) 

Up to 864 Mbps (2x2)

Up to 1300 Mbps (3x3)

Up to 1733 Mbps (4x4)

WiFi 6


2.4 GHz & 5GHzUp to 3.5 Gbps
WiFi 6a802.11axWiFi 6 + 6GHz 
Up to 3.5 Gbps

How Can I Run an Accurate Speed Test?

In order to get the most accurate speed test, you'll want to run the test on a wired device that connects directly to your router. If you suspect the issue may be with your router, you may also plug a wired device directly into the Utopia ONT where your router typically is (port GE1) and run a test from there. If running a speed test from a wireless device, be sure that the device is at least a few feet away from your router or access point to avoid any nearfield (NFC) interference and that you are connected to the correct wireless network. It is also recommended to test with multiple devices to rule out an issue with a single device. 

You can run a speed test using many different sites and applications, but the ones we recommend are below.

The only way to properly test speeds over 200 Mbps is to download the Ookla Speedtest App. The app is not as prone to asymmetric results as a web browser (e.g. 921 Mbps download, 500 Mbps upload).

What Can I Do If I Believe There is an Issue?

If you believe there is an issue affecting the speed or quality of your service, please feel free to reach out to our support team via live chat or call at 801-995-4050 and we would be happy to look at it with you.