When you subscribe to a home Internet provider, they make a lot of promises about “high-speed internet,” “lightning-fast internet,” and “the speeds you need.” But when you pay your first bill and log on to your new home internet service, it just doesn’t seem as turbo-charged as promised. So how do you tell if you’re getting what you paid for?
The first thing to look for is long buffering on videos, lags when opening browsers or apps, or having to restart your modem to see improved usage. These are all signals that your home internet is slow or underperforming.
If one of the above scenarios sounds familiar, try an internet speed test. First, find your bill or service provider contract to see what internet speeds they promised you would receive to your home. Then try one of the following browser-based applications to test the internet speeds you’re actually getting.
- Ookla’s speed test: http://www.speedtest.net/
- Speakeasy’s speed test: http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
The average home internet speed is around 7.4 mbps (as of April 2013). If your download speeds are less than 7.4, try Berkeley’s internet analyzer – it identifies and repairs problems with your network, and should help improve internet speed.
- ICSI’s Netalyzer: http://netalyzr.icsi.berkeley.edu/
Often, the distance from your home to the local or national hub can cause a delay or decrease in speed from what the provider promised to what you actually get. If you live in an apartment complex that offered you free internet or a very discounted rate, chances are your internet line is split between your apartment and several others, so you’ll only get a fraction of what you were promised. And if you have satellite internet, check the weather – cloudy, stormy, or unusual weather can affect your satellite internet signal reception.