How do you know whether your internet service provider is giving you the bandwidth and internet speeds you're paying for?
Fortunately for you, rather easily!
Let's take a look together!
Understanding Internet Speeds
It's important to remember that just because we are paying for a fast connection to the internet that doesn't always mean that the content we're enjoying online will be delivered to us at that same speed.
There's a very simple reason why; our connection to the internet is not the only connection that matters.
Take for example video streaming, let's say you want to stream The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, which I highly recommend you do! Your connection to your ISP is a certain speed but your ISP's connection to the server where episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are stored might not be as fast, or it might experience an interruption, or so many people may be polling hat information that it's slower for you than it is for many others.
Internet speeds are really about internet infrastructure. A lot of data is stored in a lot of different places and you may experience slower speeds the more places you're trying to pull that data from. So this is why even though you may be paying for a very fast internet speed you might still experience service interruptions or hiccups in the delivery of online content.
Checking Your Internet Speed
If you use these handy tools you may notice that they report very different speeds for your download and upload connections. If that happens don't worry! It's probably because your proximity to the server that Ookla pulls data from is very different than the one SpeedOf pulls data from. I think it is a safe bet to look at an average of a few different reports, to give you an accurate picture of your own networks performance.
Don't know how much you should be paying for though? We got you covered.
Recommended Connection Speeds
We've put together a handy reference list for you of the recommended connection speeds required to enjoy most of the popular apps and services on the web based on company-provided values.
Basically, if you have an internet speed around these values then you should experience no issues engaging with these platforms.
- Basic browsing and Video Streaming: 5 Mbps
- Netflix HD: 5 Mbps
- Netflix 4K: 25 Mbps
- Twitch: 3-6 Mbps
- Zoom: 1.2 to 1.5 Mbps
- Ecamm: 4 Mbps
- WebinarJam: 6 Mbps
- Skye HD: 1.2 Mbps
- YouTube 720p: 2.5 Mbps
- YouTube 1080p: 4 Mbps
- Facebook Live: 4 Mbps
Speed Up your Internet Connection
If you're experiencing slower connection speeds than you're paying for there are a few things you should check before getting into the technical side.
First, unplug your router and modem, leave them unplugged for 30 seconds, then plug them back in. If the problem persists, try connecting your computer to the internet through a wired cable if you have the option; wired will always be faster than wireless. If the problem still persists I recommend checking to see if your router and modem have the latest software and firmware. Just recently my son realized his router last received a software updated 5 years ago! After getting his ISP to provide a current router the speed went from 1.5 Mbps to 20 Mbps. We can sometimes get complacent with our technology but all technology needs regular updates!
If you're at your wit's end an increasingly popular way of getting just a bit more speed is connecting to a Public DNS such as Google's Public DNS addresses. This is a much more technical exercise but may be a good option for those looking to get every megabyte out of their connection possible. If you want to learn more about this process Google has provided a helpful guide here.
We always want to make sure we're getting what we paid for, and sometimes it seems like the shadowy ISP's look for every opportunity to squeeze the little guy. Knowing what sort of speeds you're entitled to and how those speeds can sometimes be affected by issues outside of our control makes us more informed consumers.
Until next time,
Have fun storming the castle!
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