How can I measure the bit-rate of my wireless Internet connection?
You don't measure link speed - but you can observe current link speed by looking at your adapter's client software. For example, using Cisco's Aironet Client Utility, choose Status and look for "Current Link Speed." Using Windows XP, just double-click on the wireless connection icon to view "Speed" on the Status panel.
To measure throughput, you need an application that pushes sustained traffic over the link and
calculates an average over time. An easy way to get a rough idea of throughput is to launch a
long-running FTP file transfer and average the throughputs displayed by the FTP client at the end
of each transfer. Make sure the FTP server is on a nearby Ethernet with higher link speed so that
wireless hop is the bottleneck. For more rigorous testing, use a performance benchmarking tool like
NetPerf (zip) or QCheck (NetIQ). Note that you may need multiple stations to
saturate the link. To learn more about performance testing, read this Atheros white paper on 802.11 benchmarking
This was first published in April 2003