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Broadband Speed Test

Measurement Lab (M-Lab) Speed Test Information

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DPI is committed to improving digital equity in the state of Wisconsin. As part of our efforts, DPI is collaborating with Measurement Lab (M-Lab) to collect data on internet connection speeds across Wisconsin. DPI will use M-Lab’s internet speed test data to create detailed reports and to provide maps of internet connection speeds across the state. These reports can help the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access and other broadband task groups target initiatives to improve internet speeds statewide.

About the Data

What dashboards are available to me today to view speed test data from M-Lab? M-Lab provides premade dashboards to report on internet speeds, collected via their standard NDT (Network Diagnostic Tool), which are averaged over larger areas like school districts and counties. Data also includes provider speeds within those areas.

What data can I view from the M-Lab speed test? M-Lab provides a dashboard that can answer the following question: What are the average speeds from a zip code, city, county, congressional district or state perspective? For information on how to use this dashboard, refer to the How to View Speed Test Data topic on this page.

What data can I view specifically from a school district perspective? M-Lab created a dashboard specifically at DPI’s request that can answer the following question: What are the average speeds within school districts, broken down by ISP? For information on how to use this dashboard, refer to the How to View Speed Test Data topic on this page.

Has the FCC provided household broadband guidelines? Yes. Their household broadband guidelines are here.

Tests Performed So Far

Below is a graph showing the cumulative number of speed tests since the beginning of this speed testing campaign.

graph of speed tests performed

How to View Speed Test Data

State, County, and Municipality Speed Test Data

To review public speed test data at the state, county, or municipality level, refer to the United States dashboard.

School District Speed Test Data

To review the current speed test data for individual school districts in Wisconsin, refer to the Individual School District dashboard. Using this report, you can see speed test data over a 90-day period as of the date you select at the top of the page.

speed test dashboard

To filter the report:

  • Select today's date in the Select a Date menu to view data for the past 90 days.
  • Select your district in the District menu.

To download district-level data as a Microsoft Excel .csv file:

1. Open the NDT Statistics by School District & Provider dashboard.

2. In the Select a Date menu, select today's date.

3. If you want to view data for your specific district, select your district in the District menu.

4. Hover your mouse over the Download Statistics by District or Upload Statistics by District table and select the More icon (which appears as three vertical dots). In the More menu, select Download CSV (Excel). You can also export it to a Google Sheet by selecting Export to Sheets.

downloading measurement lab speed test data

Participate in the Collection

To help collect data on internet speeds in your community, add a link to the M-Lab Speed Test on your school, district, or library's website, with an invitation for visitors to test their internet speed. We encourage people to run the speed test as many times as they want: the more data is available on internet speeds, the better we can target our efforts to improve internet connectivity in Wisconsin. 

The URL for the M-Lab Speed Test is https://speed.measurementlab.net/#/.

You can also get the word out through email and social media. To get started, you can use the email templates and images in the digital equity communication toolkit.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Measurement Lab? Measurement Lab, or M-Lab, is an open source project dedicated to measuring internet performance around the world creating a public data set of internet performance. This data is used by researchers, regulators, advocacy groups, and the general public to advocate for improved internet performance and maintain network quality. You can learn more about Measurement Lab on their About page.

2. What is M-Lab's data privacy policy? M-Lab publishes a detailed policy governing how internet performance data is used and what information is collected. Refer to the M-Lab Privacy Policy page for detailed information.

3. What if my district uses a proxy server to filter student access? The M-Lab speed test measures the internet speed of the proxy server, not the originating device. This means that if your school district redirects internet traffic through a proxy server for school-issued computers, the internet speed of those devices will not be measured. If your school district uses a proxy server, we recommend that you either do not put the speed test link on your district web site, or that you include language saying that speed tests should not be taken from school-issued computers. Note that third party filtering products such as Securely and GoGuardian do not use proxy servers to filter student access.

4. Are speed tests reliable? In general, yes. There are factors that can impact measured speed which are listed below. The importance of having many different tests taken by many different internet users at various days, times, and conditions is what leads to a more complete and realistic picture of internet speeds.

  • Subscriber speed selection. If a consumer has an internet speed option of 1Gbps, but they only choose to purchase 25Mbps/3Mbps service the test reflect that consumer’s choice, not the available speed.
  • Additional Wi-Fi enabled devices. If there are other Wi-Fi devices or users connected to a network at the same time (i.e. multiple telecommuters on videoconferences, students distance learning or streaming HD video), impact the connectivity of the device performing the speed test.
  • Network bandwidth consumption on the testing device. Running an application like Netflix while running a speed test affects results.
  • Age and placement of equipment. Building materials in walls or other objects in the home or business interfere with a Wi-Fi signal. A router near appliances or metal objects that emit electromagnetic waves disrupt a Wi-Fi signal. An older computer may have an older network card incapable of the measuring internet speeds offered by a provider. An older router is likely to perform significantly worse compared to ones that are updated. Wi-Fi extenders and boosters are popular fixes when a router has a small antennae, which can impact the accuracy of a speed test.
  • Using a virtual private network (VPN). Using a VPN or data-saving app can slow down your internet connection and produce inaccurate speed test results.

5. Are there other other options available for my district, library or community to analyze internet speed within smaller areas, other than statewide or district wide, such as neighborhoods or census blocks? Yes! Below are examples of two companies that you can contract with to gather address-level speed test information for a fee. These companies offer features that may help demonstrate where service quality as measured by speed differs in very detailed locations. Each broadband planning project needs can differ. DPI is not recommending either of these companies nor suggesting that address level data is necessary. These resources are for information purposes only.

Contact Information

Geopartners LLC

Contact: Glenn Fishbine

glennfish@gmail.com

Features offered beyond the standard M-Lab test being promoted by DPI:

  • Provides maps of tests taken to date, including provider, location, speed, and cost/month
  • Shows results by week, month, quarter, or year
  • Allows users to manually enter their address, drop a pin onto a map to show their address, or autodiscover their address (less accurate)
  • Captures and maps unserved locations (entered by user from another location)

Broadband Catalysts

Contact: Brian Rathbone

828.223.4053

brian@broadbandcatalysts.com

Features offered beyond the standard M-Lab test:

  • Maps speed, provider, and demographics down to the the census tract level
  • Provides maps of tests taken to date, including provider, location, speed, and cost/month
  • Includes demographic data
  • Allows users to manually enter their address; autocompletes address to ensure correct geolocation; allows “fine tuning” of address by dropping pin on map
  • Captures and maps unserved locations (entered by user from another location)
  • Compares advertised vs. actual internet speed
  • Provides guidance to user on recording most accurate speed
  • Enables customer to customize survey questions at start of survey

6. What are the benefits to contracting with a company to analyze internet speed within a specific area? As noted from the two provider examples, there are additional questions you can answer and data you can gather with a paid service that collects address level data for conducting speed tests such as:

  • What are the average speeds for specific addresses? This information makes it possible to identify small areas where service is poor.
  • Which specific addresses have no service?

The speed test data from any other provider generally can be added to M-Lab’s dataset just as when you use M-Lab’s standard test. DPI encourages anyone using other services to explore integrating their data with MLabs to enhance the overall statewide database. We would be happy to discuss those integration options with you.