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Is Your Broadband Any Good?

Jun 2, 2008
Do you know how fast your internet connection really is? Many of us signup and pay for a broadband connection expecting to get exactly what we've been promised - a fast internet connection.

What we're not told though is that you will almost never get the true speed you were promised. This is mainly due to your location to the exchange where the connection comes from. It's also a combination of other users in your area who also share the same connection/exchange. This alone puts a lot of stress on the connection quality.

What you will find is that there are peaks and troughs to your connection speed and quality. This usually depends on the time of day or day of the week you're using the internet connection.

For example, during the weekend the connection may be very slow with internet pages taking much longer to load than usual. You may have a slower connection around the early evenings too. Kids come home from school, people come home from work, and they all want to use the internet to check their email, Facebook You Tube etc.

This simultaneous activity (known as traffic) puts a strain on the exchange and the quality of the connection is affected.

Unfortunately there really isn't very much you can do about it. You could switch to a different Internet Service Provider (ISP) - one whom is known for their connection quality. Or you could move house, right next door to the local exchange. Again it really depends on the traffic through the connection. While you can't really control the connection speed, you can get an idea of how fast your connection is. If you are having problems you can check your connection speed and then talk to your ISP if you see a pattern developing.

I use a site called speedtest.net to check my client's broadband connections. If I do find the connection speed is much slower than originally promised by ISP I then talk to the ISP. They will investigate and if possible fix any problems they find.

Speedtest.net is very easy to use and can also give you a good indication of preferred ISP, by country region and city all over the world.

To use speedtest.net got to http://www.speedtest.net/index.php and do the following:

Select your region/country from map in the lower right hand side of the screen.

Next you need to select an orange triangle from the map of your area - this will provide you with the most accurate speed test for your connection.

When you click on the orange triangle the test will begin. Both the upload and download speeds are tested.

When the test completes you will see the results displayed on a new screen. Upload and download speeds are displayed in kbps. So for example if you have signed up to a 2mb (2000kpbs) line your results should be somewhere between 1600-2000kbps for the download speed. The upload speed is always going to be less than download speed.

Remember though, the speed promised by your ISP is almost never available. If you're not happy with the speedtest result then you may want to contact your ISP, after all - you are paying for this service and do deserve to be getting your money's worth.
About the Author
Michael Cina provides practical computer help and advice. His jargon free no-nonsense approach to computer problem solving has gained him great respect throughout the internet computing community. Visit Michael's site at http://www.spotmoonpc.com
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