Friday, March 9, 2012

Internet Connection Speed

Recently a customer asked me this question:
"Is there a way to check the speed of my wireless connection?  I get this "buffering" thing from time to time... I just want to make sure I am getting a high-speed wireless connection."
I thought this question deserved a decemt answer and I wrote him this:
  1. You need to know if - and if yes what speed your ISP has promised, or sold to you.
    Without that bottom line all else is futile.

  2. If you have a "line of sight" wireless system like Bertram Wireless' or Netwurx' then even small obstacles between your antenna and the tower can wreak havoc with your connection speed.

    With these systems even the slightest vibration or movement of your antenna will wreak havoc with your connection speed. Is the antenna really solidly mounted or can it ever so little move or shake? Think strong, gusty winds...

  3. If you have wireless, DSL or cable consider that all you get is an equal "slice" of the total capacity of the ISP's installation. You share that capacity with everybody else serviced through that installation.

    If at certain times of the day many people start to watch videos on the computer or are streaming music than everybody gets a smaller "slice" of the available capacity. 

  4. Buffering typically is a sign that your connection is not fast enough for example to sustain watching a video.

  5. ISP's contracts are likely written by specialized lawyers. You will have next to no chance to achieve significant improvements by complaining. Only if a clear equipment malfunction can be diagnosed you have a chance of a remedy.
Having said all the above: Direct your browser to and do the test. What you see is what you get at that moment.
The results may be different five or ten minutes later when some other people (that you share  your connection's capacity with) are done downloading their videos or music or the wind has died down or, or...

I am afraid that above words may cause more confusion than bring information - but that's how this world is. It gets ever more convoluted and less transparent.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.
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