Onboard Ookla speedtest

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Brainstorm

Regular Contributor
Internet speedtesting has confused me for years. I'm sure I'm going to get blown out of the water for this, but here goes.
I pay for, and my ISP gives me 500mbps both ways.
If I test from my AC86U running 386.2.4, using the onboard OOKLA, I regularly see 470mbps plus both ways.
If I turn on an Express or Nord VPN, I can regularly test from router to London at 120-140mbps download, 150-170mbps upload.
If I test from my laptop, again with OOKLA, and connected via wifi, I see 60-70mbps download, and some weird IP address as the source of the test, that is NOT my router WAN address. I know wifi will account for SOME of that loss.
However, along with the PC version of Express VPN comes their own speedtest. If I use the PC based Express app, and their speedtest, I only see around 15-18mbps download speed. When I try to discuss with Express support (don't laugh), they constantly tell me their app will always be faster and better than my manual router config (if I grill them, they can never explain why, but I guess they're just trying to sell me a supported router).
Also, I've tried testing using OOKLA from my smart TV (2018 LG OLED with Webos). Apart from the fact browser is made from wood, which I suspect may be a factor, I've tested using 2.4 and 5 wifi, and ethernet connection to my router, but I NEVER see more than 5-6mbps download speed.
If I use the Netflix speedtest, I see around 15-18mbps with VPN on, similar to the Express VPN PC based app results, so in reality, I suspect that's the true vpn speed I'm getting, but I'd really like to understand where all those other numbers come from, and if anyone else out there gets similar weird results and is as thoroughly confused as I am.
Or am I completely alone?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Traffic going through VPN is encrypted. Encryption takes CPU time. You won’t see anything above 170Mbps on VPN, if you use router’s VPN client. For more you’ll need an x86 CPU firewall or client on a PC.

- no VPN, ISP line - 500Mbps
- AC86U VPN on 384 firmware - 240Mbps
- AC86U VPN on 386 firmware - 170Mbps
- x86 Intel Deventon firewall VPN - 350Mbps
- x86 Intel i7 desktop PC VPN - 420Mbps

This what I can get on OpenVPN connection using different equipment. NordVPN servers, local.
 
Last edited:

CaptainSTX

Part of the Furniture
Traffic going through VPN is encrypted. Encryption takes CPU time. You won’t see anything above 170Mbps on VPN, if you use router’s VPN client. For more you’ll need an x86 CPU firewall or client on a PC.

- no VPN, ISP line - 500Mbps
- AC86U VPN on 384 firmware - 240Mbps
- AC86U VPN on 386 firmware - 170Mbps
- x86 Intel Deventon firewall VPN - 350Mbps
- x86 Intel i7 desktop PC VPN - 420Mbps

This what I can get on OpenVPN connection using different equipment. NordVPN servers, local.


Using an Optum mini PC with an I7 processor as the VPN appliance for my network and while using the WireGuard protocol I consistently get well over 650 Mbps download speeds. My VPN provider is StrongVPN.

On my AC86 with 386 firmware the VPN clients only occasionally exceed 150 Mbps.

My over provisioned speed from Comcast while running no VPN is 690/22 Mbps.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Yes, Wireguard is faster, but also in beta and considered less secure. NordVPN also has Wireguard, but with a note “use at your own risk”. What I mean is VPN needs CPU and routers usually cut the speeds with the slow CPUs they have inside.
 

CaptainSTX

Part of the Furniture
Even running Open VPN on my OPTUM VPN appliance I can get close to 600 Mbps. Higher speed VPNs require a faster and more powerful processor no doubt.

I'm not sure how much the difference in security between Open VPN and WireGuard really makes since in fact when you are using a commercial VPN provider only part of your link is in a secure tunnel and the rest is in the open.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Even running Open VPN on my OPTUM VPN appliance I can get close to 600 Mbps.

My ISP maximum speed is perhaps limiting the PC VPN client.

I'm not sure how much the difference in security between Open VPN and WireGuard really makes

True, but some people use VPNs to download fresh HD Linux distros with Korean subtitles. They don't want any eventual IP/DNS leaks.
 

corrykof

Occasional Visitor
Internet speedtesting has confused me for years. I'm sure I'm going to get blown out of the water for this, but here goes.
I pay for, and my ISP gives me 500mbps both ways.
If I test from my AC86U running 386.2.4, using the onboard OOKLA, I regularly see 470mbps plus both ways.
If I turn on an Express or Nord VPN, I can regularly test from router to London at 120-140mbps download, 150-170mbps upload.
If I test from my laptop, again with OOKLA, and connected via wifi, I see 60-70mbps download, and some weird IP address as the source of the test, that is NOT my router WAN address. I know wifi will account for SOME of that loss.
However, along with the PC version of Express VPN comes their own speedtest. If I use the PC based Express app, and their speedtest, I only see around 15-18mbps download speed. When I try to discuss with Express support (don't laugh), they constantly tell me their app will always be faster and better than my manual router config (if I grill them, they can never explain why, but I guess they're just trying to sell me a supported router).
Also, I've tried testing using OOKLA from my smart TV (2018 LG OLED with Webos). Apart from the fact browser is made from wood, which I suspect may be a factor, I've tested using 2.4 and 5 wifi, and ethernet connection to my router, but I NEVER see more than 5-6mbps download speed.
If I use the Netflix speedtest, I see around 15-18mbps with VPN on, similar to the Express VPN PC based app results, so in reality, I suspect that's the true vpn speed I'm getting, but I'd really like to understand where all those other numbers come from, and if anyone else out there gets similar weird results and is as thoroughly confused as I am.
Or am I completely alone?
mmm u have diff result then me, my samsung tv give to all locations abt 25/25 that i pay for but my pc give 23/23 local and 23/4 global, pity merlin only test local with 24/24, vpn is globally more stable and faster. the tv was in past same as pc. when i was on 100/100 vpn gave 40/6 so im more confused then u ;)
 

Brainstorm

Regular Contributor
Thanks for all the replies, guys, most of which make sense and I undrestood. I guess my question was a little ambiguous. What I REALLY wanted to know was how, at the same time of testing, the results can be so different. And why....
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Thanks for all the replies, guys, most of which make sense and I undrestood. I guess my question was a little ambiguous. What I REALLY wanted to know was how, at the same time of testing, the results can be so different. And why....
I agree that Internet speed testing results can be confusing. And some try to over explain...
So, here goes...
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) sells you bandwidth or the rate at which data flows to or from your network. Think of this as a pipe. The bigger the pipe the more data can flow. Actually, the "pipe" to your residence is "fatter" than what you need so the ISP installs flow regulators to give you what you pay for. Some IPS's, mine included, provision or set the flow regulator to 10% over what you pay for.
Thinking of your internet connection as a pipe or hose you can understand what happens to the flow when you put a kink or restriction in the hose. The flow slows down. Any time the flow goes through something that processes the data the flow or bandwidth will slow. That is why your test at the router shows a bit less than your provisioned bandwidth. As some have tried to say above, a VPN adds considerable flow restriction to the stream as the data has to be encrypted and decrypted at your end and the VPN provider end.
Also, some WIFI connections can be slower than expected as those streams, too, are encrypted and clients usually have fewer radio connections than the router. The more clients connected to the router can slow data as the WIFI uses a technology to avoid packet collisions with other devices.
It is complicated!
 

Brainstorm

Regular Contributor
Thanks bbunge, but still not really the question I was asking.
Could I refer you to my original post? It's the different results from different tests, conducted at the same time with the same network settings thats confusing me.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Thanks bbunge, but still not really the question I was asking.
Could I refer you to my original post? It's the different results from different tests, conducted at the same time with the same network settings thats confusing me.
Then it is gremlins.
 

Brainstorm

Regular Contributor
Well I'm pretty sure there's nothing unusual about my home network, but I'm obviously the only person that sees these weird test results, so gremlins it is then.
I'm glad we've cleared that up.
 

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