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Slow Internet Performance?

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You’re paying a lot of money for your internet connection, whether it’s a basic DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or a top-tier fiber optic connection like we have in GigCity Chattanooga at 10GBps. It only takes a few minutes to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. In this blog post we will provide some tips on how to verify you are getting the best bang for the buck.

If your internet feels like it’s dragging, it might not be you. There are several reasons for a slow internet connection, Lets walk through examining your connection so you can find the one affecting you. From there, you can talk to your ISP (internet service provider)  to get it back to the level you’re paying for.

Before we go into that, however, I’ll explain a common internet misunderstanding. While internet providers like to sell you on the idea that you’re paying for speed, and many people in the tech community talk about internet speed as well, what you’re paying for is bandwidth. While speed is a part of bandwidth, there’s more to it.

Difference between speed and bandwidth lets use the anology of a single lane road with a speed of 55 mph you can only drive one car at 55 mph. If you have a four lane road you with a speed at 55 mph you could do 4 times the amount of data or traffic which is bandwidth.

Another analogy say you’re watching an HD video on Hulu via a 25Mbps internet connection. The HD video is only going to be using a tenth of your connection’s capacity because that’s all it needs. Paying for a 100Mbps connection isn’t going to make the video smoother or higher quality.

Having more bandwidth you can watch multiple videos while also playing games, checking Facebook, backing up your computer, streaming music, browsing the internet, or other things simultaneously without hiccups. More bandwidth is more lanes on the road.

Even if you haven’t noticed a slowdown in your internet connection, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting all the bandwidth that you are paying for. 

Test your internet connection speed

To get started, you need a way to measure your internet speed that’s a little more precise than, “Well, it seems slow.” One free testing service is Speedtest.net. It’s simple to use but gives plenty of detailed information.

For your speedtest to be accurate your device needs to be plugged in directly to your router. Wireless testing will skew your results. Additionally other devices on your network should not be utilizing the internet while you are running your speed test.

Go to Speedtest.net and click the green “Begin Test” button. It will automatically select the best server near you and then run tests to figure out your download and upload speed. Don’t worry if your upload number is much lower than your download speed. That’s normal.

Helpful reference: “Mbps” stands for Megabits per second and “kbps” stands for kilobits per second. 1,000 kbps is equal to 1 Mbps.

Once the test is complete, you can try it again or run another test with a different server. To use a different server, just hover over a green dot on the map screen and click on a server name or location. For the best speed comparison, it’s best to use the same server.

Test results

One test isn’t going to tell you much. Run tests for a few days in the morning, noon or afternoon and evening. If you’re up late, run tests then, too. You’re looking for any time-based slowdowns.

At the top of the Speedtest page, click the “My Results” link to see your past speed tests. The chart depicts how your speed is changing over time.

If your router is more than 3 years old might be a good thing to shop for a replacement router. Click here for a review of the best routers in 2016 to speed an internet connection. You can even try a few settings tweaks of your own, such as changing the DNS settings. To Google Open DNS Servers see here.

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to shop around for another connection. You can find other alternatives to your current internet providers by going here. Check back next week for a new business tip of the week.

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