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Internet – How To Measure It & How Much Do You Need

Posted 6 years ago on · Permalink

In today’s society, Internet is essentially a utility service. It is as important as electricity or water service for your home or office. Let’s talk about how to measure it and how much do you really need.


 

DarnleyGresonJr

Darnley Greson Jr.

When searching for an ISP (Internet Service Provider) there is various internet options to ingest – bandwidth, download, upload, and data caps – all this seems confusing right? Before letting that jargon get to your head, let’s go over what each term means and actually does in real-world terminology. This will provide ammo for you to go back to your ISP with proper education in order to get the service you want.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Different ISP’s distribute internet to your home or office one of three ways: Coax (TV Cable), RJ11 (Phone Cable / DSL), or Wireless. The most popular affordable options are Cable and Phone – each method has their good and bad sides when it comes to internet media distribution. Cable internet has the fastest speeds for affordable rates, perfect for multimedia users or gamers. The bad is that this technology is shared in your neighbourhood, and can cause performance issues / speed fluctuations depending on the time – if you are video streaming or using VoIP phones.

Phone internet service has lower speeds compared to cable internet, however, this technology uses direct connection to your home or office which offers dependable speeds that never fluctuate.  The bad side to phone internet is if you do not have phone service in your building, there will be an additional monthly cost to create what is called a ‘Dry Loop’ (No-dial tone service) and you cannot get the speeds you would normally get with cable internet. I’ll add that DSL service is on the brink of evolving to competitive cable speeds.

Depending on the internet technology you have, you could experience poor/choppy video streaming, choppy VoIP calls, or lag in your online gaming sessions.

Getting What You Paid For

Internet speeds vary depending on the technology type and location. If you are paying for a particular speed, how would you know if you are actually getting what you initially agreed with your ISP.
Internet speeds has a significant impact on your media-streaming experience. Seeing as media streaming has become commonplace, verifying your internet speeds would be a great benchmark to start.

Ookla’s Speedtest.net or speedof.me

Speedtest

These third party websites get an accurate baseline of internet speeds. This only takes into account in what your modem is getting, not for all your devices in your local network. By running these tests at different points throughout the day, you will be able to get an accurate idea if your ISP is delivering the plan you are paying for. A quick call to your ISP will let them run diagnostics as to why you are not receiving the speeds and possibly send a tech to resolve the issue. Visit: www.speedtest.net or www.speedof.me.

Bandwidth, Ping,  Upload, and Download

Repeat after me: greater bandwidth does not mean higher performance.
What is internet bandwidth? To keep things simple, internet speeds matter since bandwidth only measures your peak speeds. ISP’s will measure bandwidth in GB (gigabytes), which means you can select the package of the amount of data you can consume on a monthly basis.

Ping is considered the reaction time after your computer sent out a request. Lower ping means a more responsive connection – measured in milliseconds (ms).

Download speed is how fast you can pull data from a server. Most internet packages are designed to have higher download speeds since majority of internet activity (ex: loading webpages, video streaming) consists of downloads. Download speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

Upload speed is how fast you can send (push) data to other servers. Upload speeds are ideal for video chat services, sending big email files, and VoIP services. Upload speeds are also measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

Final Download

Understanding the basics of internet technology will equip you to be better responsive when it comes to changes in your internet requirements. ISP’s are generally great at resolving any internet issues – however, don’t feel like you are trapped to a specific company or plan; various flavours and colours are out there.


Darnley Greson Jr. is a freelance technology writer, tech speaker, and founder of Darn IT Consulting Inc., a small-medium business technology consulting firm to help businesses learn and save money. He is also a new member at the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade, and is offering an exclusive member-to-member discount, call or email for more information. 289-316-0507; www.darnit.ca.