Few people know what internet speed they’re paying for.
When I ask… common answers include “they said it was the best”, “you are making me nauseous” and “can you just make Netflix work”.
Getting the right internet speed is crucial as it ensures you can do the things you want without problems.
Why Speed Is Important?
Internet speed is a measure of how fast it can transfer data. Data transmission is shown in Mbps (mega-bits per second).
The faster your internet connection, the faster your devices receive information, and the better the quality of the final output.
- With low speeds streaming services like Netflix and Hulu produce terrible pictures. They are literally doing the best they can with what they’re getting.
- Wireless signal strength decreases with distance from the source. Low speed and High speed signals both drop off… but, as the high speed connection starts from a higher peak the drop off is not as severe.
- When you move to higher speeds, some ISPs (Internet Service Provider) swop out the equipment and you may end up with a modem/router that provides a much stronger wireless signal than your old one.
- The bump in price to move from standard to high speed internet is very reasonable; sometimes as low as $10.00 – $20.00.
ISPs almost always provide some kind of pricing incentive if you move to a higher speed.
When I changed providers, my internet speed jumped to 6 times faster… all for a measly $10.00
How Do I Know What Internet Speed I Am Paying For?
There are three ways to do this:
- Look at your bill.
- Go online and look at the list of services on your account.
- Call your ISP and ask.
How Do I Test My Internet Speed?
Speed tests must be performed using a Mac that’s directly connected to your primary router with an ethernet cable.
You cannot do this wirelessly.
It’s best to run a speed test at least three times over the course of the day to get a fair average.
Speed tests show Download and Upload Speed.
Download Speed – The speed at which data is downloaded to your Mac, in the form of web pages, images, streaming music and streaming movies.
Upload Speed – The speed at which you are able to upload data to the internet, in the form of emails, submitted forms, WordPress posts, etc,.,
Different carriers have their own speed test pages:
- Spectrum – https://www.spectrum.com/internet/speed-test
- Charter – http://speedtest.spectrum.com
These are just the tip of the iceberg, Do a Google search and you’ll probably find your own ISP has a speed test page.
There are also a number of independent and not so independent pages where you can test your internet speed:
And many, many more.
Are You Paying For Speed Your Not Getting?
If the variance is less than 2,000 Mbps it’s not worth pursuing. Anything over that… and it’s worth a call:
When you call your Internet Service Provider.
- Tell them the plan you are on and confirm the speed you should be getting.
- Then ask, what the company considers an acceptable variance from the target number.
- If you are outside their margin, tell them the speed you are getting based on your tests and ask them to test the line and test your modem.
- And if you are inside the margin… ask them to do the same thing. It can’t hurt to make sure everything is working properly.
Even if you get a certifiable idiot on the line, be patient and pleasant. It’ll go a long way toward getting you what you want,
I pay for 20Mbps, but my speed is generally around 16Mbps. I called Time Warner and asked what they could do. A nice young man apologized, then sent a remote upgrade to my modem that had not been installed properly. After all this, my speed jumped to 22Mbps.
A leap of 6Mbps because of a single phone call. Isn’t technology wonderful.
Have a fun weekend.
Live in Los Angeles County and need Mac, iPad. or iPhone support, repair, training… or just want some questions answered? Call me at 310-621-5679. I come direct to you. That’s as stress-free as it gets.