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Troubleshooting your internet issues with CIRA’s Internet Performance Test

By Jeff Buell
Internet Performance Test Program Manager

From remote work and online education to streaming and gaming, we depend on the internet for nearly everything. When connectivity issues arise, it can be incredibly frustrating and also have a big impact on productivity, learning and our social lives. To help users diagnose and troubleshoot common internet problems, the Internet Performance Test (IPT) comes in very handy. In this helpful guide, we’ll walk you through the process of running a test and offering insights and solutions to have a better online experience.

Before we troubleshoot, it’s important to understand how the IPT can help and what its measuring. The IPT is a free online app that assesses your internet connection’s performance. Once initiated, test traffic travels off your internet service provider’s network to physical locations on the Canadian internet’s backbone, where data and content change hands, called Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). This test process more closely resembles how people use the internet daily (in our humble opinion!). After you’ve read our troubleshooting guide, head to and run your test right now!

What the IPT measures

The IPT measures dozens of aspects of your connection, the most relevant are:

Download and upload speeds

These metrics indicate how quickly data can be transferred to and from your device, affecting your ability to stream, download and upload content.


Sometimes referred to as ping, this measures the time it takes for data to travel between your device and the server you’re connecting to. Low latency is crucial for real-time activities like online gaming and video conferencing.


This is the variance in latency. Like a high latency, a high jitter threshold will particularly affect real time applications.

Packet loss

This reveals the percentage of data packets that are lost during transmission. Excessive packet loss can result in disrupted internet experiences. High packet loss can also be indicative of a potential security issue.

Using the IPT to troubleshoot internet issues

Now that you understand what the IPT measures, let’s go through how to use it to diagnose and troubleshoot common internet performance issues. Once you run a test at, you will receive a readout of your test results that will look similar to this:

Ipt Test Result

Slow download/upload speed

If your results on multiple tests indicate slower-than-expected speeds, several factors could be at play. Check if other devices on your network are sharing bandwidth. It’s also a good idea to make sure you are as close to the wireless router as practically possible, or even better, wire directly to your router for more stable speeds. Some newer routers allow content from frequently visited sites and your streaming platforms to be saved locally. This saves bandwidth as some content does not have to be retrieved over the internet. This process is called “content caching” and must be enabled through your router settings. After you try those steps and the speeds don’t improve, give your internet service provider (ISP) a call. 

High latency results

High latency can lead to lags in online gaming and delays, pauses and buffering on video calls. If your results on multiple tests show high latency values, the solutions are similar to addressing slow upload and download speeds—remove physical obstructions that may impede service from the router, connect directly via cabling to your router and then address the issue with your ISP if it persists.

High jitter

Think of latency as your daily commute time. Jitter is all those things that happen along the way that change your drive time. Lane closures, construction and accidents all increase commute time. However, driving to work slightly later in the morning or during the summer when schools are closed, may actually shorten your drive time. The same sort of things can happen on the route your data takes from your device and server you’re retrieving data from—more users on the network, malfunctioning equipment and even the weather can cause travel time variations. If you have a high jitter result and you find it’s impacting real-time applications, you can take the same steps already discussed. Also, a very low-tech solution to make sure you’re not adding to the problem is to ensure backups and software updates are run overnight to reduce bandwidth demands during peak hours.

High packet loss

High packet loss results can be caused by something as simple as a loose ethernet cable. To get the most out of your connection, it’s important to make sure your router and your router firmware are up to date. Older hardware and old router software can be a major unknown cause of internet performance issues. As mentioned earlier, a high packet loss can be indicative of a cybersecurity issue impacting your network. After running a scan with your virus protection software, consider installing the CIRA Canadian Shield, a free cybersecurity tool that can block threats before even entering your home or business network.


In a world where connectivity plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, internet performance issues can be more than just an inconvenience. The Internet Performance Test offered by CIRA is a valuable tool for diagnosing and troubleshooting these issues. By using the IPT to measure download and upload speeds, latency, jitter and packet loss, you can gain valuable insights into your internet connection’s performance and take steps to resolve common problems.

Remember that for more complex issues or consistent problems, it’s always a good idea to reach out to your ISP, as they can provide more specialized assistance. The IPT allows registered users (by signing up for a free account) to log their test history in order to share that information with their internet service provider. Hopefully, with the IPT and the solutions outlined here, you can work towards ensuring a smoother and less troublesome online experience for all your internet-related activities.

Run your test at!



About Net Good by CIRA and the Internet Performance Test

Net Good by CIRA supports projects, communities and policies that make the internet better for all Canadians which includes the Internet Performance Test (IPT). The platform offers advanced and detailed diagnostic data enabling communities, researchers, and decision-makers to better understand and improve internet access in Canada. Each year, CIRA proudly funds its Net Good program from the revenue generated through .CA domains and cybersecurity services.

About the author
Jeff Buell

Jeff is the Internet Performance Test (IPT) Program Manager. The IPT is the most advanced internet quality test in Canada that provides public access to the performance results. Jeff is an avid advocate for how IPT data, maps and reports can help stakeholders identify areas with limited access, improve funding decisions, evaluate the success of funded projects and do so at a high degree of geographic granularity.