Fast internet! Lightning speeds! The default sales pitch for internet packages is speed, and most internet customers only know that it needs to be fast. Unfortunately, there are a few underlying traits that determine what fast means, and depending on your online activities, a particular speed may be good enough or absolutely terrible. Here are a few connection details to help you figure out what your internet connection needs and whether a speed increase is necessary.
Consistency Is Key
For many internet services, you simply need to load a few lines of text, some pictures, and maybe a video on a static (not changing or rarely changing) website. This means that the internet connection just has to deliver the information as fast as possible. Was something missing? Send it again! As long as the connection is fast enough, most users won't notice a couple of lost packets.
What happens when it's more than a couple of lost packets?
No matter how fast your internet connection is, if a website or other internet service has to send the same information repeatedly because your computer didn't get the right data, more time is taken to complete the same task. An internet connection is a series of requests, fulfillment, and acknowledgements, meaning that your computer has to ask for something, receive that something, and confirm that receipt.
Buying a faster speed won't fix this problem. One may assume that faster speed means overcoming those errors, but in some cases, the errors may get worse. The internet may seem logical in its digital, neat, internet browser-based format, but it's electricity being thrown around in a controlled fashion. Your errors could be coming from a bad cable or network card, which can change your logical stream of data into a water hose with a metaphorical thumb over the stream, sending it everywhere and barely hitting the target.
Fixing Consistency And Weighing Speed
The customer only has a few responsibilities when it comes to maintaining consistency. Your computer's network interface card needs to be working, your computer needs to be free of viruses, and your networking equipment (modem/router, cables, and anything along the cable path inside your home) must be working properly.
Each of these parts must have specific troubleshooting, which can be handled by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It's probably better to get an independent check to look at your system, because although most ISP technicians are honest and hard-working, you should protect yourself in case a technician wants to dismiss your problem as on your end.
Once your computer and network equipment check out as working properly, you can't do much else but call the ISP. Consistency beyond your house is entirely the ISP's responsibility, and the only thing you can do is continue checking for viruses and making sure that your equipment is up to date.
What if your internet is consistent and verified by an independent technician, but still slow? For most web browsing, email checking, and video watching, a single computer user should be fine with 5mbps (megabits per second). In the United States, this is below average, and should be within reach for even budget ISPs.
If you play online games or use a specific video service, ask them for a suggestion. They can give a good speed range that can support their services, and you can take that number to your ISP for an upgrade. Contact an internet, telephone service, and television representative from a company like Dalton Utilities to learn more.