Its common practice to use a speedtest, e.g. www.speedtest.net, when you have bandwidth problems. This tool is great as it can quickly give you a sense of the raw bandwidth available to an internet test point at that point in time.
However when managing a high performance network, a speedtest is really not going to cut it. Here are a few of shortcomings:
1) A bandwidth speed test wont tell you how the network is performing over time, its a run once test which isn't always representative of what bandwidth was available during times that you had network slowness issues.
2) It wont tell what is consuming the network bandwidth.
3) It wont tell you the quality of the network (e.g. delay, jitter, loss). We have all heard of high bandwidth internet pipes which are of a low quality.
4) It wont tell you if, when, or where congestion occurs.
5) It tests to servers on the internet which is not representative of where your users are going for their services
Better than speedtest
The staff at Sinefa have been living and breathing network performance for over 20 years. When you're managing networks across many physical locations, throw in data centres, cloud apps and virtual environments, you need something with a little more grunt.
Here is what the experts at Sinefa recommend as a better way to measure network performance:
Step 1: Design a system that is recording network performance on a 24x7 basis, so you can go back to any time and see any improvements or deterioration.
Step 2: Measure network performance to many points inside the network, across the WAN, to the cloud servers, to the local internet and to the distant internet.
Step 3: Alert when network quality is reduced to proactively deal with issues
Step 4: Measure and report, at a detailed level, network utilization by application, device, user, etc
Step 5: Get second by the second updates for real time troubleshooting
Step 6: Get reports on correlation between congestion and poor network performance