Saturday, July 12, 2014

Google Fiber - "What speed do you really get?"

I've heard the question "What speed do you really get?" a lot since I've had Google Fiber installed. I thought I would show a few examples and explain why some of them might be misleading.

*All of these examples were taken wired in, to take wireless out of the equation.

First, a speedtest to Google Fiber's KC speedtest server. (speedtest.googlefiber.net) ~1 ms away

This is close to the best speeds you'll ever see. 941 Mbps down and 941 Mbps up is pretty much the max, the rest (~60 Mbps in each direction) is protocol overhead. If you want to understand why there is so much protocol overhead this is an excellent article that explains it. Protocol Overhead by Phil Dykstra



Next is a speedtest to Google Fiber's Mountain View speedtest server. (speed.googlefiber.net) ~40 ms away

Something seems odd here, why is the download so much slower than the upload?
The Google Fiber speedtest uses a different method to test download then it uses to test upload. The method they use to test download works fine with very low latency but does pretty bad at just 40ms of latency. The upload speed still looks great though.


Here's the speedtest to Google Fiber's Provo speedtest server. (provo.speedtest.googlefiber.net) ~23 ms away

At 23ms away the download speed went up a little but it's lower than the true speed still. Upload looks great.







In case you don't trust Google Fiber's own speedtest, here's what speedtest.net looks like. (Disclaimer: Google setup their own speedtest server for speedtest.net. It can only be used by Google Fiber customers.)

Google had to setup their own server because most test servers on speedtest.net can't handle testing a Gigabit connection.
The ~800 Mbps download is odd because the exact same servers that are used for speedtest.googlefiber.net are used as speedtest servers for speedtest.net. Both speedtests were written by Ookla and use the same ports and test data.
It appears the flash speedtest that Google uses handles minor hiccups during the test much better than speedtest.net's flash speedtest does though.

My conclusion is that Google Fiber really does provide 1 Gbps down and up. Speedtests just aren't great at showing connections of that speed yet, especially over any distance.

**If you have an older computer, even if it has a gigabit network card, you won't be able to reach the max speed that Google Fiber offers with flash speedtests.

UPDATE 8-17-2014:

It looks like tweaks have been made to the speedtest servers. Here are new results as of 8-17-2014:


KC Speedtest










Mountain View Speedtest

Note: speed.googlefiber.net no longer points to the Mountain View speedtest server, use this link instead spd101.nuq1.googlefiber.net





Provo Speedtest





KC Speedtest.net


1 comment:

Dan Clark said...

Thanks for publishing your test results. I can't wait 'til this is available in Mountain View, it will come in very handy at our photo studio.