In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission revealed their plans to provide mobile users with a way to more accurately find information about mobile broadband speeds offered by their carriers and crowd-sourcing the data across the US. The aim is to help the agency crowdsource data about wireless performance for their own record keeping. To expand the program, FCC has now released a new Android app simply dubbed FCC Speed Test. The free Android app periodically runs various speed tests in the background when you aren’t using your phone. After measuring various aspects of your device and broadband performance, it displays an in-depth view of the different measured factors in a detailed report.
Sporting a dead-simple interface, FCC Speed Test is definitely not the best looking Android app out there, but then, it doesn’t really need to focus on looks, considering the type of functionality it offers. Not only does it let users measure internet speeds of their devices, but also provides the FCC with in-depth crowdsourced data about speed variations and packet losses regarding mobile phone carriers across the country.
Once installed, the app automatically begins checking your phone’s connection speed in the background. It also activates a few tests upon first launch, requiring no input from the user’s side. Once done, you can tap the ‘Run Now; button to perform your first test.
FCC Speed Test also lets you choose the type of test you want to perform, be it Download, Upload, Latency, Packet loss or All. If its your first run, I recommend choosing All to get a better in-depth report regarding your device. Your phone or tablet then undergoes a series of tests, toggling various connectivity sensors along the way. Afterwards, it presents information about the following active and passive metrics:
- Packet Loss
- Cell Tower ID
- Cell Tower Area Location Code
- Signal Strength
- Network Operator
- Sim Operator Code
- OS Version
- Phone Type
- Roaming Status
- Network Operator
The results of all these tests are automatically saved as a log. From the home screen, you can swipe right to access these logs, which are sorted by date. By default, FCC has set a limit on the data use for testing to 100 MB per month to save you from hefty data costs, but you can change this limit to your preferred value under the Settings screen.
FCC also plans to submit an iOS version at Apple Apps Store by late 2014, which will help the agency better measure the data.