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Is there an utility that can test the speed between my pc and the wireless access point i am connected to?

To clarify why i need to know this. My isp is providing me with a speed of 20mbs. Now if my access point can sustain that speed then it's all fine. If not then i have a bottleneck, i need to know

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If that is what you are trying to determine then transferring data between a wired computer and a wireless computer on your lan is a perfectly acceptable test. Also, 20mbs is nothing, a piece of crap wrt54g can do 20mb – user23307 Apr 24 '10 at 22:59
Providing you with 20mbs speeds doesn't mean you will necessarily get 20mbs – cutrightjm Jul 6 '13 at 18:51

Transfer a file from one PC to another PC via the wireless link and watch the transfer speed. Seriously, it can be that easy. Unless you're searching for much more specific metrics... but no mention of that was in your post.

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I don't know why this was downvoted; it's correct. – Jeff Atwood Apr 25 '10 at 6:40
@JeffAtwood: My guess would be the downvote was because it could be read to suggest transferring a file between two wireless PCs. – David Schwartz Jul 6 '13 at 19:06

sudo ping -f -s 65000

And watch some download-upload meter as gkrellm or du meter or such.

Exclude sudo if on Windows, replace with your router's IP adress.

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This may cause massive packet loss - I got that, so I reduced the -s argument until the packet loss was more realistic. – Robin Green Jan 23 at 14:42

Got it, here are the steps i took to determine the speed:

  • ping -l 64000 ----- Average speed 56 ms
  • 64000 / 56 = 1142.86 bytes/ms | 1142.86/1024 = 1.12 kbytes/ms | 1.12 * 1000 = 1120 kbytes/s
  • 1120 * 2 (taking upload overhead into account) = 2.240 kbytes/s | 2.240 * 8 = +- 18 MBS
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So as you can see it is far less than the theoretical max of 54 mbs. – Tomasi Apr 24 '10 at 23:09
Unless the main use of your wireless network consists of sending icmp packets back and forth, that is probably the worst possible test you could perform. – user23307 Apr 24 '10 at 23:15
Well, I tend to disagree. My download speed hovers at exactly that speed. – Tomasi Apr 24 '10 at 23:21
so download speeds over a long lived tcp connection are what you really care about? That is what you should be testing then, not icmp. – user23307 Apr 24 '10 at 23:44
Most times they you will pay for a speed (say 20Mb/s) but they will only guarantee 80% of that. – Josh K Apr 25 '10 at 0:22

As others have pointed out, it is very, very unlikely that your access point hardware is a realistic candidate to be the bottleneck.

The possible bottlenecks are

  • your router / access point -- so unlikely it's not even worth considering, frankly, unless the hardware is literally broken with wires poking out of it.

  • wireless signal quality -- if it's low enough, it will be slower throughput than your ISP. It'd have to be terrible though. Can happen, though, depending how sketchy the wireless signal is from your current location.

  • your ISP's bandwidth -- for most people, unless you have a ridiculously crazy stupid fast internet connection, I can safely say how much bandwidth your ISP provides to you will be the bottleneck for transferring files over the internet.

Bottom line, do some file transfers and see. If you want to rule out your ISP and test wireless signal quality, just copy a file from one WiFi connected PC on your network to another WiFi connected PC.

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Ping it. Grab the IP address of the router and measure ping response times. This won't give you a kb/sec rate unless you want to do some math with the ping packet size and the ms time.

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The ping utility does not have a sufficient precision. The results i get is 1ms. It is rounded, so even if i calculate the speed it will be very approximate. – Tomasi Apr 24 '10 at 22:46
And besides if i am not mistaken the ping command send's the packet and then get's it back, so there is an overhead. – Tomasi Apr 24 '10 at 22:48
Right, so it's wicked fast. As mentioned, if you're looking for 20mbs you can almost take a turd and plug an ethernet cable into it and get 20mbs. Wireless-N routers are looking at 300mbs, G is 54mbs. – Josh K Apr 24 '10 at 23:01
54 theoretical at optimal conditions. In practice they manage much much less. – Tomasi Apr 24 '10 at 23:03
so "practice" and see what sort of throughput you get. – user23307 Apr 24 '10 at 23:12

Ping it with various packet size, but forget the math. Get a network speed showing utility (like Gkrellm) and see what speed does it show to you. This is the exact speed of your wireless link. Don't forget that speed is variable due to different parameters, like distance between your laptop and the router and obstacles between them.

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