Help Improve Wisconsin's Internet - Take A Speed Test!

by Hannah on 2021-01-29 12:00:00

Ever experience slow internet? Especially these days, with online learning, Zoom meetings, streaming movies, etc. slow speeds can be frustrating at best, and, at worst, impede your remote work, or your child's remote learning. 

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is committed to improving digital equity in the state of Wisconsin. As part of their 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.

To help collect data on internet speeds in your community, click this link to test your internet speed. DPI encourages people to run the speed test as many times as they want: the more data is available on internet speeds, the better they can target their efforts to improve internet connectivity in Wisconsin. 

If you cannot get the link to work, try copying and pasting this URL:

The speed test campaign will run through March 15, so don't wait to get your results in!

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Department of Public Instruction offers all kinds of great resources to Wisconsin residents. Check out their website to learn more.

Some text for this blog post was borrowed from the DPI website.