Determining Modem Speeds

Recently I have been having problems with very slow speeds for my Internet connection. I pay for 20 Mbps, my usual “real world” speeds run around 18 Mbps, plenty fast enough for anything I wish to do. However. About 10 days ago my speeds dropped off to 6-8 Mbps for no apparent reason.



I put in a ticket to my broadband provider, they said they looked on my modem and said there were internal problems (problems inside my house) with the modem itself or with some type of interference. At this point I went to their website and did all the troubleshooting steps for speed problems including a few of my own, but not joy. I got curious about what speed was actually coming into my house, thinking it may be a problem on their end. So, I decided to check the speed “at the modem”, the speed coming in. If you ever need to troubleshoot slow network speeds, checking the actual speed coming into your DSL or Cable modem is helpful in the process of elimination. Here is how it is done.

Logging Onto Your Modem

What you are looking for is the “Modem GUI Address” (GUI = Graphical User Interface). It can usually be located on the bottom of your modem. It is a number that you enter into a web browser that allows you to logon to the modem management page. Here is what mine looks like:

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You just type that “Modem GUI Address” number into the address bar of your web browser and it takes you to the login window for your particular modem brand:

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I run DSL and my modem is an Actiontec, your brand may be very different. Either way, you need the modem password, which can also be found on the label on the bottom of your modem, to login. Once you are logged in you should see some type of menu system:

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I want to go into “Modem Status” to check the speed coming into the modem. A word of caution here. Be very careful in this area! There are all kinds of settings that can be tweaked and changed, but unless you know exactly what you are doing or are making changes at the behest of your broadband provider I recommend a “look, don’t touch” policy.

When I click on the “Modem Status” button I am taken to this page:

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Somewhere on this page you will be able to see the network speed “at the modem”. In my case it is 19.2 Mbps which should translate to real world speeds of about 17.5 Mbps. Of course it was not doing that, hence the slow speeds. I had to block out some information here for obvious reasons. You can look around in here and see a bunch of stuff, but most people (including me) will not know what they are looking at. So, best not to touch in my opinion.

In my case the speed coming into my modem was decent enough, YMMV here. After a great deal of troubleshooting I determined that the modem was failing. I ordered a new one, I will let you know how that installation goes.


This is just one step in troubleshooting slow network speeds. But, it is helpful as a process of elimination. Sometimes the slow speeds are the fault of your provider, other times there is an internal problem inside your house with your equipment.