I Feel the Need, The Need for Speed!

Test your internet speed to make sure you are getting what you pay for. In today’s competitive market, internet speed is the focus of most ads. How do you know if you’re getting what the internet provider promised during the sale?

To make sure of this, let’s first understand the difference between speed, bandwidth and data.

Speed is the bit rate of the circuit while Bandwidth is the amount of “speed” available for use by the consumer. The bandwidth defines the maximum “data transfer rate” of a network or internet connection. This measures the amount of data that can be sent across a specific connection in a given time frame.

While bandwidth is often used to describe network speeds, it does not measure how fast bits of data move from one location to another. Considering that data packets travel over electronic cables, the speed of each bit transferred is negligible. Instead, bandwidth measures how much data can flow through a specific connection at one time.

When visualizing bandwidth, it may help to think of a network connection as a tube and each bit of data as a grain of sand. If you pour a large amount of sand into a skinny tube, it will take a long time for the sand to flow through it. If you pour the same amount of sand through a wide tube, the sand will finish flowing through the tube much faster. Similarly, a download will finish much faster when you have a high-bandwidth connection rather than a low-bandwidth connection.

Data often flows over multiple network connections, which means the connection with the smallest bandwidth acts as a bottleneck. Generally, the Internet backbone and connections between servers have the most bandwidth, so they rarely serve as bottlenecks. Instead, the most common Internet bottleneck is your connection to your ISP.

Now that the technical defining process is complete, we can focus on which service provider is correct for you. Today, you have several different choices for high speed Internet access. You can use: DSL, Cable Internet, Satellite Internet, Wi-Fi, or Cellular 3G and 4G networks.

An ever-increasing number of technologies are available to deliver high speed Internet access. This is making the market more competitive, leading to a nice combination of lower prices and ever increasing download speeds, so don’t be afraid to haggle the price and data packages (Interestingly enough, U.S. high speed Internet moves at a turtle’s pace compared to the speeds available in other countries.)

With that said, let’s take a look at some websites that offer free internet speed, bandwidth and data test to make sure you are getting what you pay for.

http://www.bandwidthplace.com/ – my personal favorite

http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/speed-test.html

http://www.att.com/speedtest/

http://speedof.me/

A final note; when you sign up with an internet provider, make sure to test the available speed within the first few days of getting the service. This gives you a chance to file a complaint with the company, negotiate for a better price or cancel your service without penalty. Also test your internet frequently to make sure they are maintaining their promised service.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s