Check your network speed in Windows 10

Sometimes you need to check your network speed in Windows 10. The information buried a bit but you can get there in about three clicks. When you need to know the raw specs of your network connection, here’s how to do it.

Depending on your network driver, it was sometimes easier to get this in previous versions of Windows. Sometimes all you had to do was hover over your network connection icon. But this method also works in Windows 7, even if you have a featureless network driver.

Check your wireless network speed in Windows 10

check your wireless network speed in Windows 10
This dialog box allows you to check your wireless network speed in Windows 10.

There are several ways to do this. That’s often the case with Windows. But this is the fastest, least roundabout way I’ve found so that’s the one I’ll tell you about.

Right-click the Wifi icon in your system tray next to the clock. It looks like a beam emitting toward the top of your screen off to the left a little bit. Select Network and Sharing Center. Click the blue text labeled Wireless Internet Connection. The connection speed is usually about the sixth line down. The line below that will tell you the signal strength. You can click Close when you’re finished.

Over time I’ve stumbled upon at least three other ways to get to this information, but many of them are confusing and hard to remember. I like this method because it only takes a few seconds and the hardest part to remember is to right-click the icon. In Windows 10, the advanced stuff usually seems to be a right-click away, rather than a left-click away.

Check your wired network speed in Windows 10

Check wired network speed in Windows 10
This dialog box permits you to check your wired network speed in Windows 10

To be honest, I probably use this to test random network cables more than for anything else. Usually there’s printing on the cable to tell me if it’s CAT5e or CAT6, but not always. And, admittedly, sometimes a cable goes bad to the point where it won’t work for gigabit anymore, but still works fine at 100 meg.

Whatever your reason for wanting to do it, checking your wired network speed is much like checking wireless speed. Right-click on the wired networking icon in the system tray next to the clock. The icon is hard to describe but resembles a stylized RJ-45 plug like you’d find on the end of an Ethernet cable. Select Network and Sharing Center. Click the blue text labeled Local Area Connection. The connection speed is usually about the fifth line down and will read something like 100 megabits or 1 gigabit. I hope you won’t be seeing 10-megabit speeds anymore in 2017, but I guess anything is possible. You can click Close when you’re finished.

Check from a command prompt

You can use the command wmic NIC where “NetEnabled=’true'” get “Name”,”Speed” to get your connection speed, and this command works for both wired and wireless connections.

For wireless connections, you can alternatively use the command netsh wlan show interfaces to display your transmit and receive rate and other details about your wireless connection.

If you find yourself using either of these very often, you can always save one or both of them as a batch file with the pause command at the end. Then save it someplace you can reach quickly and easily.

Check your network performance

What if you do need to check your actual network performance? There are utilities finding and measuring your network’s peak performance. But you can get an idea how your system is doing right now by bringing up Task Manager (the fastest way to do that is to hit Shift-Ctrl-Esc), then click on Performance, then click Ethernet or Wi-Fi, whichever you want to measure. Then you can watch your network performance over the last 60 seconds. Click Open Resource Monitor for a more detailed view that lasts longer and lets you see what processes are using your network. You can use this to watch the impact that streaming video or music or web browsing has on a large file copy, for example.

Further reading

Network problems aren’t necessarily harder to figure out in Windows 10, just different. If you’re having trouble connecting to a wireless network, here’s help on systems not meeting network requirements or Windows saying it can’t connect to this network.

Here’s some help if your gigabit Ethernet card is only connecting at 100 megs.

And finally, I hope you’ll also check out my guide on how to optimize Windows 10 for better performance.

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