Rated 5 out of 5 stars
[PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR WRITING SUCH A LONG REVIEW. I WANT TO MAKE SURE I EXPLAIN WHY I RATED IT FIVE STARS, AND ADDRESS SOME COMPLAINTS ALREADY POSTED IN OTHER REVIEWS HERE. Actually, I have been somewhat brief; a full explanation of all the factors involved, and the background needed to comprehend and apply the test results, would be a good start on a classroom textbook! ] Some reviews here say the speed and bandwidth tests are not, or may not be, accurate, because the numbers yielded by the tests are not what is expected. These speed tests are as accurate as possible; by that I mean, it is not possible to make REAL WORLD speed tests which match exactly from run to run, due to the nature of the Internet and the way data bits are routed from the sender to the receiver. The Internet, while easy to use, is fabulously complex and HUGE, if you view it in its entirety. Yet, we often expect it to behave as though it is the same as the little routers we have in our homes, to serve a couple of family computers! There will always be some variation from test to test, as it is testing for the ACTUAL speed/bandwidth etc., without coloring the results to meet the expectations of the tester. Thus, anything which is not absolutely constant on the Internet will cause variations in the testing from one test to another. Since the Internet may send the data through different paths from one test to another, those paths may be radically different; one path may be much “shorter” or may go through lightly used parts of the Internet, while the next may wind up going through heavy traffic due to momentary high traffic on normally lightly loaded routes (hold your tongue and say THAT ten times as fast as you can!). Unless the Internet is not being used by anyone else when the tests are run, no two runs using identical test software/hardware and data will match exactly, and it is possible for them to differ substantially, as just explained, due to different pathways over the Internet. Also, it IS possible to get a reading higher than the ISP publishes it to be, because there are various compression programs running in the modem, the browser, etc., to "compress" web pages, text, etc., to reduce the load on the web. Thus, when a test is run which has compressible components in it (parts which the modem or any other compression software will automatically compress and thus, decrease the time required to download that portion) , the compressible portion will yield a reading which can be higher than the ISP's maximum speed. This is similar to the gain obtained by compressing a file before uploading or downloading it (for example, using a ZIP compressor such as WINZIP). The original file may be 25 MB, then ZIP compresses it to 12MB, allowing the file to download at less than half the time of the original file. This could make the speed look like it was twice the maximum of the ISP's hardware if the calculations used the original file size at both ends (by retrieving that information from the ZIP file), but only because of the compression. When considering only the size of the file, or number of bits/Bytes, the download WOULD BE twice as fast as the ISP, but the number of "bits" actually sent would not match up with the number of bits in the file because compression works by using various coding schemes to send the file as codes which are reversed when the file is de-compressed, to yield the original text or other data (it is confusing, I know, but if you think about it for a minute, you will see how it works-probably). So, I believe this program yields correct speed and bandwidth numbers, according to my experiments, at least. (I am a communications/telecommunications engineer, by the way, and have worked with compression, modems, encryption, etc., quite extensively...) I like the way these tests are being done as they actually tell you the REAL WORLD results of your system, rather than results which are meant to match up with some artificial specs or standards, which would alter the results to be "communicatively correct". hahahaThis review is for a previous version of the add-on (1.1).