There are Internet Service Providers (ISP) who have been known to throttle your bandwidth if you are a high volume user. This can be because they think you may be breaking their Terms of Service (TOS) agreement by downloading a lot of music or video.
There are sites out there that will check the speed, but this is a one time test. If you want to really keep an eye on your upload and download speed, you should take a look at Net Speed Monitor. The app on your Windows computer will check the speed of your connection at your wireless card or hardwired connection. This is the techy equivalent of checking for horsepower at the wheels of a car instead of at the powertrain.
How to use Net Speed Monitor
After you download Net Speed Monitor (download link below), you will be asked if you want the stats to be displayed in the taskbar. I’d say this is the easiest way to see the real-time stats so select yes.
Next you will need to select the connection you’d like to monitor. You will likely have a hardwired and a wireless connection. There may be more choices if you use a USB broadband card or something else to connect to the web.
When you hit the save button, you will see the real-time stats in your taskbar. If you hover over the stats in the taskbar, this bubble will pop up with more information. What I thought was cool is, it shows your total data usage while Net Speed Monitor was on. This is great for people with limited monthly internet access.
Configuring Net Speed Monitor
You have a couple of settings that you can change. You can change the network interface if you need to check another connection method. In the configuration menu, you can change the value of measurement from dB/s to MB/s or MI/min. Whatever you are most comfortable with. In the Layout tab, you can change the font. And if you don’t like the default D: and U:, you can change the identifiers for download and upload to whatever works for you.
Does it work?
It seems to work well. I tried to see how much download speed I could get from my little netbook. It got to about 1.3 MB/s. This is not anywhere near what the speed test sites tell me I get, but it is more like what my speed appears to be in the evenings.
Overall, Net Speed Monitor does what it says it will. It gives you an accurate idea of your download and upload speeds. I think this would be a good testing tool to see what your actual speed it when you are uploading or downloading files to the cloud.