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Is Your Internet “Fast Enough”?
Did you know that Bravo is an internet based application? That means that Bravo performs better with a faster internet connection.
A part of Bravo running as smoothly and quickly as possible is the connection speed you have out to the internet, which is determined by Internet Service Providers or ISPs. When a person or business signs up for service through one of these ISPs, you make an agreement on how fast the internet will be.
One thing that many of us don’t realize that even though we sign up for and pay for a certain amount of internet bandwidth, it doesn’t mean that is what we will receive 24 hours a day. Sometimes our ISPs throttle our connection speed. This act of throttling effects our download and upload speeds and the overall latency of our networks. So if you’re a Bravo user using Bravo at a certain time of day, if the system is taking longer to load reports and do transactions than usual, there is a possibility that your ISP is throttling your service.
But why would my ISP throttle my internet speeds?
The truth is that depending on your individual ISP; you could be getting throttled for a variety of different reasons. Some of the main reasons they throttle your bandwidth, or what is also called Traffic Shaping, is due to peak times of day or the amount of data that you have downloaded throughout the month. If you are in a heavily populated area and share a bandwidth pipeline with your neighbors, your ISP could determine that between the hours of 5pm and 6pm there are the most amount of users connecting to the internet at the same time. The ISP will then shape all of that traffic so that all of the users get approximately the same amount of bandwidth as everyone else. This kind of traffic shaping is more popular with DSL (Digital Subscription Line) providers.
Another one of the most popular reasons that ISPs throttle traffic is due to how much data you download. This leads me to the next point that most people don’t know about their ISPs. Our ISPs can see all the traffic we use in types based on what TCP or UDP ports are used. They can see what websites you visit and the type of connection you are using. They can do this by looking at the ports that your data is traveling down. If they see you are downloading from P2P services or are using bit torrent services, they will shape your traffic so that those ports can only send and receive so much traffic at a time. This is often the case with users who are doing lots of streaming online.
Using services like Netflix during peak hours is also another reason why your ISP could throttle your connection speed. For example, if you and all your neighbors that share the same connection point to the ISP start streaming on Netflix at the same time, then someone will not be getting the same fair connection speeds as everyone else. So your ISP will go and shape your traffic so that everyone receives a fair bandwidth connection. This happens often in condensed areas and neighborhoods that use cable or DSL service providers. After that, everyone has about the same speed to the internet, but don’t realize that the overall connection of your internet traffic is 10% slower than usual. But everything is working, we can watch our movies and TV so no one ever questions it.
What can I do to ensure I am getting the speed that I pay for?
The best thing you can do is to test your internet speed often. There are lots of services online that can provide internet speed tests. These tests are designed to tell you your average upload, download speeds, and overall throughput on your bandwidth connection. Websites like Speedtest.net and speedof.me are very useful and powerful sites that allow you to get accurate measurements of your PING, UPLOAD, and DOWLOAD speeds. It’s always recommended to do these tests from different workstations and browsers using multiple test sites. This method will give you the most accurate representation of your average internet speed.
There are many factors that impact your speed test results. Throughput problems in your local area network, IP or access overhead, and network design all play a role. Please read the definitions and examples below to learn more about these factors.
- Download – Download is a measure of how fast your connection delivers content to your computer or local area network.
- Upload – Upload is the measure of how fast content is delivered from your computer or local area network to others on the Internet.
- Kbps transfer rate – kilobit per second transfer rate. There are 8 bits in a byte, so we would divide kbps by 8 to get KB/sec transfer rate.
- Mbps transfer rate – megabits per second transfer rate. 1000 kilobits equals one megabit. One megabit per second equals 1 million bits per second. Mbps is the industry-standard used by ISPs.
- MBps – Mega Bytes per second. There are 8 megabits in one megabyte.
- Latency -In a network, latency, a synonym for delay, is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another. In some usages, latency is measured by sending a packet that is returned to the sender and the round-trip time is considered the latency. Low latency is extremely important for businesses and power-users.
- Transfer Rate –Transfer rate is speed at which data can be transmitted between devices. As files to download become increasingly larger, the highest data transfer rate is most desirable.
- Throughput –Throughput is the maximum amount of communication or messaging that can be transmitted through a communication channel during an elementary unit of time, usually, in a second.
What do I need to do to make sure I get the Bandwidth that I am paying for?
After you have successfully run a speed test you will have an accurate representation of what your speeds really are. With that information you can determine if you are NOT getting the speed which was advertised and agreed upon by your ISP. Then there is only one option you can do, CALL YOUR ISP!!!! A simple phone call to your ISP can solve everything!
If you pay for a 25 Mbps service and find that you’re averaging 10-15 Mbps, then call your ISP and tell them to throttle your connection back to the speed at which you pay for! If they find that they cannot get you to the speed at which you pay for, they will send a technician out to your location to troubleshoot and fix any physical issues that may be causing the problem. It could be that something as simple as using a different kind of coax splitter on the street. Success could then give you the physical power you need to get those speeds you deserve.
There is actually lots of physical issues that could slow down your connection speed as well, like electromagnetic interference or bad/damaged coax cables at the street level. Even with DSL services, the lines they use could have cross talk if the wires are not at the approved rating for EMI reduction. Technicians have tools and devices they use to measure these for troubleshooting purposes.
How do I run a speed test myself?
All you have to do is visit one of the following sites and Click Run Test.
Remember that not all of these sites will give you the same exact results, so it’s always recommended to use a few different ones to see what your average will be.
What about the connection I have with Bravo? How Can I tell if that is running optimally?
So now that you have an average speed result, the next is step to go even further and be even more thorough with your results. You can also run a speed test that goes right to Bravo’s servers at SWITCH. Going to speedtest.net and then running your search for Las Vegas servers will get you to ping off of the SWITCH servers that Bravo is hosted on.
How do I know if my speed test results are good or bad?
There are lots of different factors that could affect your speed test results but the best way is to look at your average speed test result, and compare the numbers to your ISP service details. If you do not know the exact service agreement you made, then contact your ISP before you run your tests. That is the best way to tell if you are getting the service you are paying for. With that knowledge available, your average test results will tell you exactly what you need to do. You can either be happy that your speed matches that which you pay for or you can call your ISP with documentation to prove that something needs to be corrected. Remember there are times when the problem is a physical issue that needs a technician to troubleshoot and fix any issues that may be happening.
Now I know you are curious about some baseline numbers, so below are some base lines you can look for on broadband internet connections in major areas. These are based off of a 25-30Mbps services from a broadband provider.
- PING : 14ms
- Download Speed : 30.00 Mbps
- Upload Speed : 5.00Mbps
- PING : 50ms
- Download Speed : 15.00Mbps
- Upload Speeds : 3.50Mbps
- PING : 70-90ms
- Download speeds : 0-10.00 Mbps
- Upload Speeds : 0-2.5Mbps
Remember these are just average baselines and it is possible that you see something that is far better than what we have listed above or far worse.
I hope you can use this guide to troubleshoot your Internet speed and evaluate your ISP connection speed in order to ensure you are getting what you pay for.