Netflix Launches iOS, Android Speed Test Apps

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Netflix is making it a little easier to test mobile Internet speeds in real time by launching the FAST Speed Test app for Android and iOS.

Like the barebones fast.com website Netflix debuted in May, the new app uses the company's servers to automatically estimate current download speed.

"The idea behind fast.com [and the new app] is to provide a quick and simple way for any Internet user to test their current Internet speed, whether they are a Netflix member or not," according to a company blog post.

Fast Internet speed is crucial for streaming services: If your stream buffers or stalls, you can't watch the next episode of Stranger Things, and Netflix takes a hit.

To test yours, simply install and open the program on your smartphone or tablet, then watch as it calculates your mobile Web pace. Only one day old, the FAST Speed Test already boasts a four-star rating among iOS and Android users.

For more detailed information on ping, latency, jitter, and upload speeds, Netflix points users toward speedtest.com, which should provide similar results in most cases.Fast.com

The release comes after Netflix in May introduced a tool to help consumers control how much data they use when streaming over a cellular network. Streams are capped by default at 600 kilobits per second, or about three hours of viewing per gigabyte of data.

In recent years, the company has reluctantly inked deals with ISPs for a direct connection to their servers to speed up your Netflix experience (known as interconnection deals). But Netflix argued these deals are a net neutrality violation and should not be required, prompting the FCC to open an investigation in 2014, and propose a way to file interconnection-related complaints a year later.

Since 2013, Netflix has also offered its monthly ISP Speed Index, which measures average monthly speeds of actual Netflix streams during primetime hours. Fast.com calculates a personal Internet connection for any given time.

For more, see How to Check Your Internet Speed.

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