Internet Speed – Explained

Anyone living in a rural area will know the pain that comes with slow internet speed!  Constant lagging when trying to watch a YouTube video, or stream anything on Netflix.  Let alone loading a webpage, or downloading an email attachment.  

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider), reels you in with promises of ultra-fast broadband, and you are left disappointed, because your speed seems less then you were expecting, or paying for.

Let’s start by differentiating between a slow computer and slow broadband, yes there is a difference. 

Slow Computer;

  • The time taken between powering on and using your computer – this is down to the computer itself, not the internet.
  • Opening an App/Program – again this is down to the computer, not your internet speed.
  • Shutting down your computer – no internet needed to do that either.

Slow Internet;

  • The time it takes for a web page to load – the more adverts on the page the longer it will take to load – case-in-point is the BT webmail page, with so many adverts on the page, it has to be one of the worst web pages by far, along with TalkTalk and AOL.
  • Emails loading – again this is down to the speed of your internet and adding that to the point above, can be frustrating.
  • Buffering videos – the persistent loading circle and juddering – this applies to YouTube, Netflix and any other streaming service – this is not limited to your computer, you can experience this on a Smart TV too.

Don’t believe everything your ISP tells you!

ISP’s are inclined to blame a computer or device when their Customers complain about slow internet. Rather than admit it could be a fault on the line, the customers router, even a problem at the exchange. Because arranging for an engineer to investigate a problem is the last thing they want to do.

ISP’s can often use this situation to encourage their Customers to upgrade their internet package, so tying the Customer into another 12-18 month or more contract.

On many occasions we have been out to Customers, to install a test router and/or an ADSL filter, to rule out equipment within the house being at fault. This then gives the Customer evidence to go back to their ISP, proving it isn’t in fact their computer (or equipment) at fault.

How do I know how fast my internet should be?

This will depend on who your ISP is.  It should be on your bill, whether it is a paper bill you get through the door, or one that is emailed to you, or you view online. If you can’t see it on there, then logging into the ISP website, you should be able to find information under the “My Account” section, detailing the package you currently have. Failing that, you can contact your ISP, many now offer a Live Chat service on their websites, but you can always give them a ring if you prefer.

How do I know what internet speed I am actually getting?

You can test your internet speed in a few different ways, which I have detailed below;

  1. Logging into the router will allow you to see your download and upload speed, and is probably the best way to check it. All you need to know is the IP address of your router, and the admin password. These are usually located on the back or bottom of your router.  Don’t confuse these with your Wireless Network name and password.  An IP address will look something like this; 192.168.1.1, you type this into the URL/address bar in your browser, and a page will open asking for the username and password.  Once you have signed in then you should be able to see your download and upload speeds. TalkTalk routers use 192.168.1.1, BT and Plusnet routers use 192.168.1.254, Sky routers use 192.168.0.1.
  2. Speed test websites – of which there are quite a few.  Our “go-to” website is www.speedtest.net.  You can also go to Google and type “speed test” in the search bar, and it comes up with this;

Once you have clicked on “Run Speed Test”, a box containing a dial will pop up, and it will automatically run the test.  We recommend running the speed test when connected to your router via a cable, as you will lose speed when running the test over WiFi.

We recommend testing your internet speed at different times of the day, as your speed will fluctuate depending on whether it is a morning, evening or weekend.  This is due to other members of your Household using the internet, as well as other households using the same exchange to stream movies and playing games online.

Internet speed can be effected by how far you are from the green box and exchange.

What next?

So, you’ve compared what you are getting, against what you’re paying for, and have found a big difference. It’s time to contact your ISP, and let them know. They will of course go through the obligatory checks;

  • Is your router plugged into the main phone socket? – It your router is plugged into a phone socket feeding off of the main socket, this can effect your internet speed.
  • Have you tried plugging the router into the test socket? – This is usually located behind the socket face-plate, but not all sockets will have them. Although this is something they will ask you to do, if you do not feel comfortable doing so, ask a professional.
  • Have you tried a new filter? – A faulty filter can impact your internet speed, and it is worth swapping it out.

Make these checks prior to calling your ISP, to save time, plus if you are using the landline, you won’t be able to carry out the checks.

It is worthwhile talking to neighbours, to check what speeds they are getting. This will be good ammunition to use when calling your ISP, if your neighbour is getting the speeds you are also supposed to be getting, then something somewhere isn’t right.

If you have any questions, or want to arrange for us to come out and carry out any checks for you, give us a call on 01460 259999 or contact us here.

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