Five tips to look for when testing your network speed
By Eli Riles
Eli Riles is a retired Insurance Agent from New York. He is a self taught expert in network infrastructure. He spends half the year traveling and visiting remote corners of the earth. The other half of the year you’ll find him in his computer labs testing and tinkering with the latest network technology. For questions or comments please contact him at email@example.com.
In the United States, there are no rules governing truth in bandwidth claims, at least none that we are aware of. Just imagine if every time you went to a gas station, the meters were adjusted to exaggerate the amount of fuel pumped, or the gas contained inert additives. Most consumers count on the fact that state and federal regulators monitor your local gas station to insure that a gallon is a gallon and the fuel is not a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.
Unfortunately in the Internet service provider world, there is no regulation at this time. So it is up to you the consumer to ensure you are getting what you are paying for.
Network operators deploy an array of strategies to make their service seem faster than others. The most common technique is to simply oversell the amount of bandwidth they can actually handle and hope that not all users are active at one time.
It is up to the consumer, who often has a choice of service providers, Satellite, Cable, Phone company, wireless operator etc, to insure that they are getting what they are paying for.
We at Network Optimization news want to help you level the playing field so here are some tips to use when testing your network speed.
1)Use a speed test site that transfers at least 10 megabits of data with each test.
Some providers will start slowing your speed after a certain amount of data is passed in a short period, the larger the file in the test the better
2)Repeat your tests with at least three different speed test sites.
Different speed test sites use different methods for passing data and results will vary.
3)Try not to use speed test sites recommended by your provider.
Or at least augment their recommended sites with other sites.
4)Run your tests during busy hours typically between 5 and 9 p.m. in the evening, try running them at different times.
Often times providers have trouble providing their top advertised speeds during busy hours.
5)Make sure you test your speed in both directions.
The test you use should upload as well as download information.
To find the latest speed test sites on the network, we suggest you use a Google search with the terms:
“test my network speed”
Dig down deep in the list of results for more obscure sites.
Lastly, remember the grass is not always greener. If you find your speeds are not always up to their advertised rates don’t be alarmed – the industry is not regulated in the US and speeds can vary for a variety of reasons. Your provider is likely doing the best job it can while trying to stay profitable.
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Your ISP May Not Be Who You Think It IsSeptember 1, 2010 — netequalizer
By Art Reisman, APconnections CTO (www.netequalizer.com)
Have you ever logged into your wireless laptop at a library or hotel lobby or airport?
Have you ever visited and used WiFi in a small-town coffee shop?
Do you take classes at a local university?
What got us thinking on this subject was the flurry of articles on net neutrality — a hot-button issue in the media these days. With each story, the reporters usually rush to get quotes and statements from all the usual suspects — Verizon, Google, Comcast, Time Warner, etc. It’s as if these providers ARE the Internet. However, in this article, we’ll show there is a significant loose conglomerate of smaller providers that, taken together, create a much larger entity than any of these traditional players.
These smaller organizations buy bulk bandwidth from tier-1 providers such as Level 3 and then redistribute it to their customers. In other words, they are your ISP. To give you a rough idea on just how large this segment is, we have worked up some numbers with conservative estimates.
There are roughly 121,000 libraries in the US. Some are very large with thousands of patrons per day and some are very small with perhaps just a handful of daily visitors. We estimate that half provide some form of wireless Internet service, and of those, they would average 300 unique users per month. That gives us approximately 18 million patrons using the Internet in libraries per year.
There are approximately 15 million students attending higher education institutions, with K-through-12 schools making up another 72 million students. If all the university students, and perhaps half of the K-through-12 students use the Internet at their schools, that gives us another 45 million users.
In 2004, half the hotels in the U.S. had broadband service. It would be safe to assume that this numbers is over 90 percent in 2010. There are approximately 130,000 hotels listed in the US. With an average occupancy per night of 30 guests per hotel (very conservative), we can easily conclude that 100 million people use the Internet from U.S. hotels over the course of a year.
Lastly there are 10,000 small regional ISPs and cable companies serving smaller and rural customers. These companies average about 1,000 customers, covering another 10 million people.
Yes, some of these users are being double counted as many obviously have multiple sources to the Internet, but the point is, with conservative estimates, we were able to easily estimate 100 million users through these alternate channels, making this segment much larger than any single provider.
Therefore, when discussing the issue of net neutrality, or any regulation or privacy debate concerning the Internet, one should look beyond just the big-name providers. There’s a good chance you’ll find your own online experience regularly extends beyond these high-profile ISPs.
NetEqualizer bandwidth controllers are used in hotels, libraries, schools, WiFi hotspots and businesses around the world and have aided in the Internet experience of over 100 million users since 2003.