More realistic and more prominent connection bandwidth choices

I was mystified by something I was seeing on test results. Loading a web page with a bunch of images was taking up to a minute for the test to complete. That didn’t match my own testing from home, where loading without cache only takes a couple of seconds. I tried all kinds of things to make it faster - HTTP/2, switching Apache to the Event MPM, etc.

Then I noticed in the Advanced Settings section that it was defaulting to a “Cable 5/1 Mb” connection. For somebody with that very slow connection, the test results would actually be about right. Mystery solved. If I change it to “native” then test results match what I am seeing – last run took 1.8 seconds…

My suggestion is that the Connection/Bandwidth setting be moved out of Advanced Settings so it’s always visible, that the list should be updated regularly to match what’s typically available, and that the default choice should be a faster connection than 5/1 Mbps. Connections with gigabit bandwidth (sometimes in both directions!) are available to many people. I personally have a cable connection that gets over 460Mbps down and a reliable 12 Mbps up, and I could pay to get that upgraded.

Thanks for the suggestion Shawn! We’ll chat about maybe pushing the connection speed up out of the Advanced Settings…it is a pretty frequent one for folks to change.

As for what types of connections to use, we like to be pretty conservative there. The better the connection speeds, the more likely it is that key performance issues are going to be missed—it’s the classic “it looks good on my machine/network” problem.

For mobile connections, the 4G connection is about right of the 75th percentile of traffic (see Alex’s great research).

For desktop connections, anecdotally, the Cable connection is more often too fast than too slow in my experience. We pull in the CrUX data for each URL on a test, if available, for a comparison point and I usually have to introduce latency into the network conditions to get results that are closer to that 75th percentile for most pages.