View Full Version : Internet speed
04-25-2010, 07:19 PM
Recently I got a letter from an organization saying there is a class action suit against AT&T for not delivering promised internet speeds.
I order basic, which is supposed to be 667 kbps. Every time I've run a speed test, it's been mostly 562 kbps, sometimes in the 200-300 range.
But I'm sitting here thinking ... why is it that even tiny .jpgs have slow scrolling action? I sit here for about 10 seconds waiting for a 500 kb photo to load (just a photo link, not a site link). Why does my Gmail sometimes not load because of speed? Even the front page of FSU is doing really slow scrolling as it loads this morning. Theoretically, those photos should take less than a second to load. And I remember checking internet-based email on 56.6 and not having to wait this long. Hell, I even remember streaming video on 56.6, and right now my browser can't keep up with YouTube buffering.
So is it that sites have all these crazy hidden items that have to load these days (I'm aware that there are a ton of tiny Flash elements to sites, but I even have a Flash blocker, where I get to choose if I want to open them)? Or is my internet speed even less than what my online speed meter indicates? I've experienced this throughout the years, in multiple locations, on multiple computers, and I don't have hidden online processes running, any anti-virus, a huge firewall, or a ton of programs slowing down my computer.
I'm just wondering if we're all being duped (at least in the US), or if I'm the only one. Thoughts?
04-25-2010, 09:01 PM
Yes, I think we are all being duped. The speed they quote isn't the speed the promise to deliver to you each time you use the internet. And, you have to be an IT person to understand it. It is (generally) the bandwith theya re delivering to your area....contingent on how many people are using it and what they are doing. So although, theoretically, that is wat they are delivering, it is not what shows up at you screen.
Kind of like the a bottled water company promising to deliver 3 gallons of water.......which they do set at your door........in a leaky bottle...so when you bring it in the house, there are only two gallons.
04-25-2010, 09:25 PM
In my case it's more like getting that 3 gallon delivery and ending up with less than 1/3 of a gallon.
04-26-2010, 01:33 AM
They are never as fast as what they say. The speed displayed for my wireless broadband is 7.2MB but I only ever get 1.5MB. But at least my ISP was honest and upfront about it.
04-26-2010, 01:54 AM
Speed fluctuates constantly and is dependent on a lot of factors. The number you are quoted is usually the maximum possible. Ask for the average speed at peak traffic times (usually 7-9 pm). That is a much more telling number.
Things also slow depending on file size and other factors. Pure text usually downloads very quickly, but how many sites have pure text? Graphics slow things down, Flash slows things down more, and ads like Google ads that are pulled from another site REALLY slow things down.
That's one reason that we limit outside graphics, sig line size and number of graemlins in a single post--because it creates a lot of drag.
04-26-2010, 02:01 AM
Speed can be affected by 101 other things besides the speed of the pipe into your house. If you look carefully, all ISPs word their services as "up to XXX Mbps" for a reason and they rarely, if ever, hit that speed.
In general, the difference between most high-speed internet connections is negligible to general web browsing, it's usually only noticable if you are gaming or performing other high-quality/intensive streaming activities. It's the other factors that are giving you the noticeable trouble. Here's a few examples: the current load on the servers you are hitting, the routing and packets from the servers and back to your house through the shared internet backbone, the age/speed of your computer's processor, how your browser is rendering images and responding to scripts, and even the quality of the code of the page you're loading.
And yes, most pages have a ton of little things they are loading today that involve scripts and calls to multiple servers and in many cases your browser won't render the page until all items are collected. so if one hit to, say, an Akamai server is slow responding, half of the page may load but then appear to hang. This would have nothing to do with your ISP speed, even if not at max speed that was advertised.
04-26-2010, 02:36 AM
We had "blazing fast FIOS" until the family down the street switched. They've got 3 tween/teen children who seem to be able to use all the bandwidth for our entire street! The guy across from us runs a business, and basically tries to get most of his online stuff done before school lets out. Fortunately, the parents seem to be responsible, as normal speeds return around supper time. Weekends, that's a crap shoot. If the kids are home, our internet is pokey.
04-26-2010, 04:50 AM
Hah, now that I've posted this thread, I just tested my speed again (2wire Speed Test (http://www.2wire.com/bandwidth/initialmeter.php)), and got the best results I've ever gotten at this location, ever. They're spying on me!
What you all say does pretty much make me accept the speed I'm getting, so thank you. It's just interesting that I take all these preventative measures (i.e. Firefox Add-ons and the like) to NOT load every single element of every page, am on my own DSL, don't have a firewall or anti-virus or ongoing connected services (i.e. chat, constant iTunes downloading), and yet still things are similar to 56.6 dialup in 1998. I know, graphics and sites were much lighter then, but still.
I wonder how much "past the barrier" of all the factors you described I am when I do that 2wire test. I assume I'm accounting for my max speed and my specific connection and computer and processor, just not host servers.
I just typed in the term "internet speed flowchart" into Google images, and this is what I got (http://www.jingshiou.com.tw/images/index/ws-flowchart-01.jpg). *scratches chin* mmm hmm, looks about right.
05-05-2010, 09:07 AM
Ah. I know this thread is old, but I just found out something I sure I knew at one point in life that escaped me. Answers my speed question quite a bit.
If I'm getting 500 kbps, that's actually 500 kilo-bits per second, not kilo-bytes. So that 500kb photo shouldn't take 1 second to download - it should take 8 seconds. That makes a lot more sense.
I'm sure there are still a bunch of other slowing factors, but yeah, makes much more sense.
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