Internet speed: what is it and what does it depend on

Internet speed: what is it and what does it depend on

Internet speed— one of the most important criteria when choosing a provider and tariff. The overly active rhythm of modern life leaves its mark on the use of the Internet. Quick connection to the World Wide Web — this is the key to comfortable remote work, learning and just having a good time watching your favorite movies, listening to tracks, etc. But on the contrary, slow speed — This is a complete inconvenience, a waste of time, nerves, dissatisfaction, etc.

Now let’s look in more detail at what Internet speed as such is and how it is measured, and consider the factors that directly influence it. Let's consider the nuances of using wireless access. We'll tell you how to determine your Internet speed and increase it without changing your provider and tariff plan. But, let's talk about everything one by one.

What is Internet speed and why is it worth measuring?

The speed of an Internet connection is not determined by kilometers per hour or meters per second. It is calculated by the amount of information that a particular network is capable of transmitting per unit of time. It is measured in bits or bytes. So, 1 byte = 8 bits. By analogy with other units of measurement that we are accustomed to in our everyday life, the prefixes kilo (103), mega (106), giga (109), etc. can also be added to this parameter.

Today, the most commonly used parameter to indicate the speed of an Internet connection is Mb/s. It determines what size file your network can download or download in one second. So, for example, a figure of 30 Mb/s will indicate that, using your Internet, you can download a file of 30 Mb in size to your device in one second.

Here we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the small letter “b” denote bits, and the capital letter “B” — bytes. That is, our same 30 megabits per second, which we talked about above, is nothing more than 3.75 megabytes per second: 30 MB/s = 3.75 MB/s. It is because of this that confusion arises among network users when determining Internet speed. Therefore, it is very important to keep track of which letter “b” is (small or main) the provider uses in the description of their tariff. That is, the Internet from a provider with a speed of 30 Mb/s will be 8 times slower than 30 MB/s.

Now that you know how Internet speed is determined, you can move on to learning what factors influence it.

What factors determine the speed of wired Internet?

The speed of your Internet connection is influenced by various parameters. These may be technical nuances and features of your work on the network. Now let's look in more detail at the main criteria that influence this parameter:

  1. Channel congestion. In this case, we can draw a fairly simple analogy with the speed of movement by car; it’s one thing if you drive along the road yourself, if the weather is good, if you don’t stop for snacks along the way, then you can arrive at your destination much faster than if these factors were not met: there was rain or ice, traffic jams, you would stop at a cafe. In the case of Internet speed, the situation here is quite similar. When forming packages of their services, providers include the highest indicator in the technical characteristics. But the result is that in reality you get significantly lower performance if the channels are heavily loaded, if there is any interference or obstacles on them.
  2. Distance from the physical facilities of the provider. Here, too, everything is quite logical and understandable: the further the server is removed from your device, the lower the Internet speed will be. This is largely due to the presence of interference that the signal will need to overcome on its way to you. Therefore, the more logical and correct solution would be to connect to a server that is located as close as possible to you, and not to physical devices located in Europe and America.
  3. Channel width. To understand this parameter, let’s make a comparison with water pipes. So, the larger the diameter of the pipeline, the greater the amount of water that will pass through it per unit of time. The same thing happens with the Internet. The wider the connection channel, the more information can pass through it in the same unit of time. We'll look at it in numbers. Let's assume that your home provider has allocated a channel with a speed of 1 Gb/s. This means that it will be able to transmit 1 gigabit of data in one second of time. If at the same time 20 more people are connected to the same provider in your home, each of you has a tariff of 30 Mb/s, and you actively use the network, then it turns out that when working simultaneously, you will occupy 600 Mb/s. That is, even in this case you are already consuming more than half of the channel width. What will happen if not 20, but 100 people connect? This means that to work in the same mode that we talked about above, you will already need a speed of 3 Gb/s, and the provider will not be able to provide it. Where it leads? To the fact that the speed of your connection will decrease for everyone by 3 times.
  4. Network equipment. You need to understand through what connection you connect to the network. Cable— faster and more reliable solution compared to Wi-Fi. The fact is that using a cable you can connect only one device to one channel. But via Wi-Fi you can connect a large number of tablets, phones, laptops, and PCs to one channel. Also, Internet speed directly depends on processor power. If it cannot process large amounts of data, it will automatically slow down the download.
  5. Presence of viruses on the device. If your computer, laptop or any other gadget gets malicious software, it will work in the background. Accordingly, connections to the network will be made without your knowledge. This means that it will consume some resources, which will lead to a decrease in speed.
  6. The number of programs that require a network connection running on your device at the same time. The picture is the same as the simultaneous work of a large number of users on one channel. That is, each of your applications will require certain resources from the Internet for its operation, which will ultimately lead to a decrease in speed if the channel bandwidth initially does not satisfy the requests of all programs. Therefore, to speed up your work on the network, keep track of which applications you currently have open; do not use new ones; experts also recommend installing them in browser only those extensions that you really need in your work and nothing unnecessary. They also consume a certain amount of resources and cause connection slowdown.

We will not dwell on such a factor as a poor connection from the provider, because everything here is already clear. If you are not satisfied with its proposals, then you will need to look for an alternative for a more stable and convenient work on the network.

What factors determine the speed of wireless Internet?

If you connect to the Internet not via a cable, but via a Wi-Fi network, then there are a number of additional factors that affect the connection speed. We highlight the following main points:

  • The Wi-Fi standard that your router and receiving adapter uses. So, today the most relevant standard is 802.11b/g/n/ac. Quite old devices, especially those installed in laptops, use the 802.11 g standard, which can reduce the speed down to 15-20 Mb/s in an apartment building.
  • Data transmission frequency for which the router and receiving adapter are configured. These indicators can be 2.4 or 5 GHz. If your device still operates at a frequency of 5 GHz, then the Wi-Fi speed in domestic conditions will be significantly increased.
  • Apartment configuration, thickness of internal walls, material of manufacture. The fact is that the more powerful the equipment used in your home Internet network, the thicker and denser the walls the signal will penetrate. It will also cover a larger work area. In some cases, a combination of several devices can also be used.
  • Location of the router in the apartment. We decided to isolate our router by closing it in a closet, locking it behind a metal door, in a shield – Be prepared for your Internet speed to decrease significantly. It is optimal to place the router in an open place.
  • The presence of third-party interference from other Wi-Fi networks. If your neighbors also use Wi-Fi networks operating in the same frequency range as you (2.4 GHz), then there is a high probability that they will influence each other, which will lead to interference. You can minimize this problem if you select the least loaded channel in the router settings, or change the router itself to a more powerful one that can also operate in the 5 GHz range.

Who is to blame for low Internet speed?

It is clear that the low Internet speed — this is the problem of the user himself. This is his inconvenience, a waste of his personal time, nerves and all related factors. But who can be held responsible for this? Thus, a decrease in Internet speed may be influenced by factors depending on:

  1. Provider. This category includes the congestion of the channels that it allocates to its users, the quality of the equipment that is installed on it, as well as on nodes in your home, the quality of the cable and connecting elements used. Also, do not forget about what network equipment you lease from your provider. If it turns out to be outdated, then there is a high probability that the download speed will be slow.
  2. Subscriber. You, as an Internet user, must take care of the proper quality of the network equipment that you use at home. We are talking primarily about the router and network adapters. It is also necessary to think over the layout and choose the right cable, Internet sockets and connections for laying communications inside the apartment. You also need to understand that the speed of the Internet will depend on what kind of laptop, tablet or smartphone you use in your work – What is important here is the standard that it will support (we talked about this above). Another thing we mentioned is that there may be hidden malicious software on your device that will significantly drain power. But you also need to understand that an antivirus or a working torrent client  will also have an impact on network speed.
  3. Neither from the provider nor from the subscriber. Here we are talking about those parameters that affect the speed of the Internet, but do not depend on either the provider or the service user. This is the power and load of servers in the network, the number of communication lines located outside the provider. This is also interference that will have a negative impact on the operation of your home Wi-Fi network due to exposure to third-party signals.

To summarize

As you can see, Internet speed — this is an unstable parameter, although most providers indicate a static figure. It may vary depending on the network load and the technical features of the equipment that distributes and receives the signal. It is affected by the distance of the provider's server from your home and much more. Use the online service to check your Internet speed. This will require a minimum of time from you — and no fee.

Is it possible to optimize Internet speed? Yes, if you choose the right provider and optimize your home network. Alternatively, you can play around with connecting fast DNS servers. Also, Internet speed can be improved by caching data, as well as using high-speed connection channels that cellular network operators allocate to their users. In this case, we are talking about connecting mobile proxies from the MobileProxy.Space service to work. You will notice how much your network performance will improve without any third-party modifications or modifications.

Follow the link to learn more about the tariffs and functional features of this product, as well as take advantage of a free two-hour test. If necessary, technical support is available at a time convenient for you 24/7.

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