Microsoft Research launches Windows 8 port of Network Speed Test app

In June, Microsoft released the Network Speed Test app for Windows Phone 8, giving owners of those smartphones a quick and easy way to test the upload and download speeds on their network. Now Microsoft has released a port of that app for Windows 8 PC owners.

The Windows Store page for the app has the details on Network Speed Test, and it's basically got the same features as its Windows Phone 8 counterpart. In addition to checking on upload and download speeds, the app can also record data on packet loss, latency and more. It works on both WiFi and cellular networks and offers a warning if it uses the latter network in case you don't want to go over your broadband cap.

The app is designed so that its interface can show what sort of activities you can do with your particular wireless connection. Low network speeds mean you can email or stream low quality videos but the graph also shows when the speed is enough to stream higher quality videos.

Microsoft Research is using the app to help conduct its own studies on network quality. As with the Windows Phone 8 version, the Windows 8 port of the Network Speed Test app will send information on "certain characteristics of your device and the network connection" to Microsoft as part of their research. The app will also send info about a person's location while running the network test if they consent.

Source: Microsoft via Winbeta.org | Image via Microsoft

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16 Comments

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Does this app no longer work for anyone else? I tested it when I first saw this article yesterday seemed to work OK. Got about 3-4 down and 5 up. Wasn't the best performance but I was on Wifi and far from my access point at the time. Didn't think anything of it until I tried again this morning and it hasn't worked all day. "Service unavailable" or something similar to that is the error.

In my case I'm getting 9.7 Mb down/2.78 Mb up, and 85ms worth of lag; however, that is with a full load of apps (including uTorrent) running as well as SWTOR installing in the background - not bad for 8.1 Preview on legacy hardware.

It may be the App is using 'physical' location instead of the closet server from the client gateway.

Speedtest's WP8 App also has this problem; however if you know where your gateway is, you can override the server selection.

Using 'location' services is not always accurate, as physically a server may be close to where you are located, but via your network provider's connection may be taking a much longer route and with a cellular connection, it is often even further and can be in a different part of the country you live in.

For example a Verizon Cell Phone customer may be traveling through Utah, but the LTE connection the phone uses could port (accessing the internet) into Verizon's network in Kansas. Thus a server test to Salt Lake City is a lot further away than a network server in Kansas City.

The server and network load is also an issue, and some public speed testing servers will return worse performance. For example, a closer 'network' server in Sacramento may return a lower bandwidth result from someone in Sacramento than reaching out to a faster server in Palo Alto.

A good indicator that you are not getting a close server is if your latency is 5-20x what your ping time is to your local gateway. I have a <1 ms ping to my gateway, and even my closest server is <10ms, yet the App is returning 250-280ms on both the PC and WP8.

Remember these type of tests are for general consumers to have a 'guesstimate' of their expected performance.

Working fine here... just measured 95.77 Mbps down, 28.67 Mbps up...

Edit: changed server on speedtest.net, now 75.25 Mbps up. But the down is correct.

Edited by rfirth, Jul 3 2013, 12:28am :

All apps say the same for me when following a link from the browser, but if you search for it in the store its there and installs fine