How the Internet Performance Test Works

 

The .CA Internet Performance Test (IPT) is a quick and easy test of your Internet connection, either at home or at work, which is intended to provide data for researchers to better understand and improve the Canadian Internet. It also provides advanced users with detailed technical diagnostic information.

The .CA Internet Performance Test (IPT) is made up of test servers located throughout Canada at various Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). IXPs are critical hubs on the Canadian Internet and important in the efficient and fast transfer of data securely within our borders. Currently located in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary these servers are running the MLAB platform which allows us to run a variety of tests measuring everything from network speed and latency to blocking and throttling.

To assess your Internet performance we are using a test called the Network Diagnostic Test (NDT) provided by M-Lab. This test connects your computer to one of our servers within Canadian IXPs. This is a very important difference between the .CA Internet Performance Test and many other tests, such as those provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most ISP tests are run on servers located directly on the backbone of the ISP’s network. So they are really testing your connection speed from your computer to their network. This is a completely valid, but different type of speed testing designed to achieve different objectives. 

Our test on the other hand will test how your connection is to the Internet as a whole within Canada. It’s a neutral eye on your connection performance, and will give you a better idea of the capabilities of performance on Canada's Internet infrastructure.

Running your speed test is just one part that contributes to the State of the Internet. As each user performs a test, their data is anonymously collected and aggregated into a large dataset that spans Canada. Researchers will be able to understand the capabilities of Canada’s Internet infrastructure. Canadians will be able to compare their connection speeds with other people in their neighbourhood, city or across the country. As the reporting infrastructure grows, we will be able to report on technical trends and others will be able to overlay demographic and social data to help understand who is getting the best benefits from this great technology. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Internet Performance Test, or have questions about the results you are seeing, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

We are always improving. Check out our product Roadmap for information on new features that we will be creating in the near future. If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to email us at IPT@cira.ca