Running a simple network speed test is often a good start when troubleshooting or verifying network performance. Such a test may measure speeds between two computers or the Internet download speed from an ISP. Many free network performance test tools are readily available for testing network performance.

In this article, we will have a look at the following free tools:

  • CommTest
  • iPerf
  • Network Speed Test
  • Speedtest.net
  • Fast.com

CommTest ^

CommTest is a program used to test network connectivity performance and transfer speeds between two computers. It measures the transfer speed, latency, and packet loss between the two computers.

To use CommTest, you install it on both computers and then use the Connect button to configure the test's target. Unfortunately, the utility is getting very long in the tooth and only shows compatibility with Windows 8 as the highest Windows OS on the site. However, I found that I was able to install it on both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

The installation is a "next, next, finish" process. Once CommTest is available on both computers, start it using the Connect button.

Launching the connect functionality with CommTest

Launching the connect functionality with CommTest

Next, enter the destination IP address of your CommTest host.

Specify the target of the network speed test with CommTest

Specify the target of the network speed test with CommTest

CommTest begins operations immediately after the destination IP address is provided.

Running the network connectivity test with CommTest

Running the network connectivity test with CommTest

You can download the CommTest utility directly from Roadkil.net.

iPerf ^

The final tool on the shortlist, called iPerf, is well known among network professionals. You can use it to test speeds between two hosts on a LAN, across the Internet, etc. It is similar to what you can do with CommTest. It allows you to take active measurements of the maximum achievable bandwidth on IP networks. However, it provides a much more customizable and configurable testing tool.

The iPerf utility is feature rich with command line parameters that allow you to create highly customized network speed tests between hosts. You can tune and tweak parameters around timing, buffers, and protocol settings for TCP, UDP, and SCTP.

First, extract the downloaded iPerf ZIP file, which you can download here. Once extracted, note the wide range of options available for iPerf.

iPerf command line options and parameters

iPerf command line options and parameters

For a basic test, we need to run one host as an iPerf server and one as an iPerf client. The basic command for the iPerf server is:

iperf3.exe -s
iPerf server from the command line

iPerf server from the command line

Once you have the iPerf server running, you will need to run iPerf on the designated iPerf client. The syntax for an iPerf client is:

Iperf3.exe -c <IP of your iPerf server>
iPerf client connecting to the iPerf server

iPerf client connecting to the iPerf server

Find our comprehensive review of iPerf here.

Network Speed Test ^

Network Speed Test is the highest-rated app you will find when searching "network speed test" in the Microsoft Store. Installing the app is as easy as clicking the "Get" button.

Network Speed Test app in the Microsoft Store

Network Speed Test app in the Microsoft Store

When you run the app, it displays detailed information regarding your connection speed, including:

  • Connection type
  • Internet status
  • Host name
  • Delay
  • Download
  • Upload
Viewing the network speed test results after running a test

Viewing the network speed test results after running a test

You can take a look at Network Speed Test here.

Speedtest.net ^

Speedtest.net can't check your LAN between computers, but testing your Internet connection can uncover problems with your download or upload speeds, latency, jitter, etc. In addition to visiting the Internet site, Speedtest.net has mobile apps available for iOS and Android, as well as a Windows Store app.

Visiting speedtest.net to run an Internet speed test

Visiting speedtest.net to run an Internet speed test

Check out speedtest.net here.

Fast.com ^

Another simple way to determine whether you are getting the speed you have paid for is to visit fast.com. It is a site owned by Netflix that gives you a quick, easy test of your Internet speed without additional details.

Fast.com by Netflix provides a quick easy Internet speed test

Fast.com by Netflix provides a quick easy Internet speed test

Fast.com by Netflix provides a quick, easy Internet speed test

Visit fast.com here.

Wrapping up ^

Performing Internet speed tests and simple network speed tests between two hosts on the local area network can help uncover network performance, latency, connectivity, and other problems.

Subscribe to 4sysops newsletter!

The tools listed can help quickly measure network speed, without complicated setup time, to find performance issues. In addition, all of the tools listed are free to download and use.

avataravataravatar
8 Comments
  1. PowerMe! 4 weeks ago

    Nice article.
    1) When working on network servers, I tend not add any tools unless required. My favorite in windows was pathping where I was able to assess packet loss and latency in the different hops in the connectivity test. In one used case, it helped us identify packet loss in a BGP route that was affecting a VPN to a data center. With the path ping data we were able to convince the ISP to adopt a different route.
    2) When troubleshooting network congestion, I normally create test VM / host with iperf to simulate the server-client traversing a switch or firewall.
    3) Thanks for the tip about fast.com. It seems like with the settings button there one can configure it to use multiple servers.

    avataravatar
    • Surender Kumar 4 weeks ago

      Well said @ratan. Pathping is an excellent built-in tool to check latency and packet loss. I also avoid using 3rd party tools/services particularly on servers.

      avatar
  2. Bo Geitz 4 weeks ago

    In an effort to save everyone frustration, never use iperf3 on Windows server.

    avatar
  3. PowerMe! 4 weeks ago

    Thanks Bo for the info about Cygwin- I never realized that as I always used linux too. Thanks for the reference too. Now there you go- if we are using the tool from Cygwin (unix-like) why not use a dedicated linux host.

    In my experience, adding troubleshooting-tools to a production server (may be a bit our of scope. for our discussion) should be a last resort. The problem is that if you are using a buggy piece of software or forgot one that has acquired a vulnerability, you expose the production server to security risks. The only one I ever used was a portable wireshark and winpcap to troubleshoot LDAP authentication issues and to analyze packets that uses older protocols such as SMB1. But I remove them once the troubleshooting is done.

    avataravatar

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 4sysops 2006 - 2022

CONTACT US

Please ask IT administration questions in the forums. Any other messages are welcome.

Sending

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account