Many new high-speed Internet customers are surprised to discover that the quality and speed of their Internet connection can sometimes differ from that advertised by their Internet service provider. Although advertised rates usually represent peak averages under ideal conditions, there are many factors that determine the speed of a connection at the user end and that can even yield different speeds from user to user within a network.
The method used to generate your wireless connection may have the greatest impact on its speed. The two most widely used methods of delivering a high speed connection are ADSL and broadband, and many providers employ ADSL for their networks, which uses antiquated copper infrastructure to deliver data over long distances with the quality of transmission degrading as the travel time grows. In comparison, ISP providers like iiNet use fibre-optic infrastructure to deliver a high speed connection for more reliable performance over longer distances.
Your location within your area, within your network and within your building can also have a substantial impact on Internet speed. ADSL connections grow weaker over longer distances, and so users located further away from their central broadcast hub will experience slower connection speeds. Cable broadband gives a given number of people in an area access to a large pool of bandwidth, and this can lead to bottlenecks and slowdowns in high-traffic scenarios.
Wireless Internet signals can also be blocked by building constructs, furnishings, or even interfered with by other common items such as microwaves or cordless phones. If you are experiencing consistent issues with your wireless Internet connection, a good step can be to ensure that all computers as well as any modems or routers are separated from these interfering devices.
Computers work best when only asked to perform a limited number of functions simultaneously, and so stress on your computer’s memory or hard drive can also negatively impact Internet speeds. Too many open programs and background processes draw available resources away from Internet operations, and unnecessary applications should be paused or closed before connecting for the best possible speeds.
Viruses and malware can also bog down the operations of your computer, making an Internet connection difficult or impossible to maintain. Be sure to obtain and use a reliable antivirus program at all times to ensure your computer remains suitable for facilitating a high-speed connection.
If you’ve ever wondered if your Internet connection speed differs from that of your next-door or next-desk neighbour, chances are it does. Nevertheless, knowing the factors that influence connection speed can help ensure that you’re on the right side of the equation.