Windows only: For a quick and dirty assessment of your connection speed it's tough to beat sites like Speedtest.net, but what if you want to make a custom list of remote locations?
If you need or want a finer degree of control over the speed tests you conduct, Down Tester is a customisable speed tester. You specify which remote files it downloads for its test, how long it will download each file, and what kind of connection it forms with the remote host. For our test we selected three popular Linux distributions and downloaded 20 seconds worth of each .ISO file. As you can see from the screen shot with just three remote locations there was quite a variety in download speed, the more files you add the more accurate a picture of your connection Down Tester creates. The application is tiny, under 50k, and portable. Down Tester is freeware, Windows only.