chainsawcurtis wrote:But, seriously, folks. I don't understand much about how the interwebs work. Can somebody explain why all these isps are are using the same server in Germantown? Is it a big server farm or something up there?
The speedtest.net site has hosted servers where their speed test can run from stationed all over the world. In order to test your connection's latency and throughput, it is best to run your speed test from the server that is closest to you (assuming the server is not overloaded). The closest server to Madison is in Germantown, which is "recommended" by the Speedtest site as soon as you log on (based on your IP). I am sure you could pick another server - but the further you go, the more likely you are to run into hiccups along the way - which could impact your tested speed and make it look like you have a slower connection than you actually have.
It might help to think about it this way - Let's say you want to test how fast your car can go - the test will begin as soon as you start your car. Given these parameters, you'd want to get to the closest straight and empty road you can find and then go as fast as you can. This is essentially what selecting the closest server is doing.
Ideally, you'd run these right from Charter's head-end before you even hook up to the internet to see what your potential maximum speed is. Then you'd have to know Charter's speed test address - which I have forgotten. This would be roughly equivalent to taking the fastest, straightest empty road and plopping it down at the end of your driveway.