Monitoring internet speed is a recommended approach to determining if the speed you are paying for from your internet server provider (ISP) is actually what you are receiving on the ground. Different ISPs have different infrastructure and the speed you, as a user, will get for the same download package from 2 different ISPs could be significantly different. In addition, the quality of the lines your ISP offers are also a factor in many internet applications today. Skype and other VOIP phones require not just a minimum speed but a quality line that allows your calls to be delivered smoothly.
If you live overseas and surf mostly American websites, you’ll want to monitor internet speed in the place you surf the web. If you are having problems with your connection speed and call your ISP for help, they will walk you through testing your connection against their servers in your country. This is fine and well if you would only be surfing sites in your country but most people surf sites where the servers are in the US. Keep in mind that even if some of the sites you visit are from your own country, they may very well be sitting on servers in the US so you must always test your internet speed against servers in America.
There are many free sites were you can monitor internet speed. Google “internet speed test” or “bandwidth test” and many sites will be displayed. Choose something with an easy to use interface. To run the test, make sure that all applications on your computer are closed and that no one on your network is draining the bandwidth by downloading or using an internet intensive application. Select a server in the location you would like to test your speed against. If you are in France, you may want to test your speed against a server in Boston. The test will start by checking your download speed and will subsequently check your upload speed. These numbers should be divided by 1,000 to compare them to the speed you are meant to be receiving from your ISP. For example, a download speed of 1500 kbps equals 1.5 Mb download speed per minute. Do not close your browser while the test is running. If your results are not up to snuff, you may want to test your speed again at a different time of day. Running several tests through out the day will give you a good idea of your overall internet speed.