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Introducing SpeedUpLouisville.com & How it Works

Speed Up Louisville – Louisville’s Internet Speed Test

We know that 21st Century learning and jobs increasingly depend on ubiquitous access to affordable, high-speed internet. We know anecdotally that different parts of Louisville have differing internet options and services provided commercially. Yet currently, we, as a community, do not know where exactly these options are working and where the gaps are in Louisville. To solve this major issue, we opened up a challenge to a group of civic hackers at a recent code-a-thon (Code Across) hosted by the Civic Data Alliance at Code Louisville.

From the inspiration of the hackathon, the team at PowerUp Labs built the Speed Up Louisville application from the ground up; providing design, UX, and software development services to bring the project to life.

SpeedUpLouisville.com is a citizen engagement tool that will make it clear where we have high-quality service and areas where there are needs. It works by collecting user-generated information about local broadband service speeds, rates, and service quality in our community. After collection, the anonymized data will be displayed on an interactive map and available for free download on the website. The project aims to increase transparency about internet service quality in Louisville and to continue the conversation around fiber in our community.

Partners

SpeedUpLouisville.com was developed through a partnership between PowerUp Labs, Metro’s Innovation Team, Civic Data Alliance, LVL1, and the Smart Louisville Collaborative. The Louisville focused project started at a local, day-long civic-hackathon, Code Across, led by the Civic Data Alliance and hosted by Code Louisville. Eric Littleton, Jon Matar, and the PowerUp Labs software development team volunteered to continue the work started during the hackathon. LVL1.

How This Helps Us All

The more residents share their internet speeds, the easier it will be for our community to attract competition into underserved parts of our community and the more obvious it will be when residents are not getting the advertised service levels. Our community is working hard to both attract the investment of private ultra high-speed internet providers like Google Fiber, AT&T GigaPower and others. Citizen participation like this can help accelerate the pace of competition and more importantly help us level the playing field across the metro-area

How Your Speed Is Calculated

The speedtest on Speeduplouisville.com uses the publicly available API from speedof.me to determine internet speeds.

The application collects raw download speeds and compares them to the quality of service as determined by other respondents in the city of Louisville.

SpeedOf.Me tests your internet connection by directly downloading/uploading sample files from your browser. It reflects your actual browsing and download experience.

Download Test

It begins with downloading the smallest sample size (128 KB). If it takes less than eight seconds, next sample would be tried otherwise it continues with upload test. Among all downloaded samples, only the last one which took more than eight seconds will be accepted and your download speed is actually based on the last sample file.

Upload Test

When the download test is completed, a similar incremental mechanism will be used to send back data to SpeedOf.Me test server. The upload test starts with a smaller sample file and will gradually increase until it takes more than 8 seconds to upload a sample file.

Note:
If you are behind a proxy server or firewall, you may experience problems with upload test. It may not work well or it may give you inaccurate results. In these cases, you should use another browser as different browsers react differently regarding this issue.

Smart Test Method

In order to guarantee that your Internet connection is tested thoroughly, SpeedOf.Me tests your bandwidth in several passes. Sample file sizes increase gradually until it takes longer than eight seconds to download the sample file. As a result, SpeedOf.Me unlike other speed tests, is able to measure connection speeds in a wide range. From a slow 10 Kbps Mobile GPRS to a very fast 100 Mbps cable user (or even higher) automatically.
Sample files are in these sizes: 128 KB, 256 KB, 512 KB, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128 MB.

Test Servers

SpeedOf.Me hosts its sample files on CDN. It benefits from 59 (and counting) super servers called PoP. Each PoP may utilize several servers. They are located in various places around the world near primary Internet exchange points. These super servers have a massive computing and caching power and are directly connected to all the major backbone networks.
When the test is started, the quickest and most reliable server, not necessarily the nearest, would be chosen. There are many factors involved in selecting the best test server for you. However, it is done automatically using CDN technology to ensure the best testing quality. Here are SpeedOf.Me PoP locations:

    • North America:

Ashburn(2), Atlanta(2), Chicago(2), Dallas(2), Los Angeles(5), Miami(2), New York(2), San Jose(2), Seattle(2), Newark, Boston and Philadelphia

    • Europe:

Amsterdam(2), Frankfurt(3), London(2), Madrid(2), Paris(2), Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm(2), Helsinki, Milan and Warsaw

    • Asia:

Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Noida, Batam, Osaka, Tokyo(2), Jakarta, Kaohsiung and Seoul

    • Australia:

Sydney, Melbourne

    • South America:

Sao Paulo

Accuracy

Unlike other speed tests that require third party applications (plugins), SpeedOf.Me tests your Internet speed directly from your web browser not through Flash or Java Plug-ins with lots of overhead.

SpeedOf.Me also downloads large contiguous sample files. This is what you usually do when downloading a webpage or media. This is while other speed test services download small chunks in parallel and do heavy adjustments to calculate your approximate speed.

SpeedOf.Me utilizes several test servers (PoPs) in various locations which makes the test result more realistic. Other speed test services have a different approach about test server location. Some choose the nearest physical test server, probably inside your ISP. It seems illogical because the speed between you and the selected server is always higher than your real speed [for connecting] to the rest of the Internet.
On the other hand, some speed test services use a single test server to test users’ connection speed in all geographical locations. For example, imagine a user is in Asia or Australia while the test server is in the US. The result would be inaccurate again because the end user is very far away from the testing server.
All of these make SpeedOf.Me the most accurate and realistic speed test among others.

Which Browser is Better?

Generally speaking, the more HTML5 features the browser supports the more precise the test result would be.
Our recommended browsers are the latest version of Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
If you are using Internet Explorer, please be advised that the upload progress may not be shown in some older versions of IE. So, please be patient while the upload test is in progress.

Questions?

Please direct inquiries to elittleton@poweruplabs.co and we will respond as quickly as we can!