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Internet speed tests: How fast is your ISP connection?

By   /   August 19, 2009  /   Comments

  • Anybody remember how excited you were when you got your first dial-up connection to the Internet?

  • How cool was that?
  • Now, fast forward a few years to the days of broadband or fast access connections.
  • How does that old dial-up look now?

Not only have our expectations changed, but the World Wide Web has changed.

Web pages are very much more complicated today than they were back then and they take much more bandwidth to load all their images, videos, audio files and complicated navigation schemes. What if you had to download Vista’s Service Pack 2 with close to 500 MGBs of files on a dial-up system? Just downloading your email can take forever with dial-up, since people are always sending pictures and videos and the like.

Seems we’re always in a hurry today and surfing the Internet can be just as annoying as Interstate traffic when it’s backed up. Usually when you’re in a road traffic jam, you can guess what’s wrong; maybe an accident ahead or road construction. But, how do you tell when there’s an internet traffic jam?

Is it just you when things slow down, or is it your Internet connection. Or is there something wrong on the site that you are connecting to? Let’s look at these three possibilities in turn.

First is it your PC? If a slow Internet connection is being caused by your PC, you’re probably experiencing a loss of speed on some other operations as well. Are your pictures slow to open; do other applications like Word open slower than usual? If things are slower all over, then you need to address what’s wrong with your PC.

I’ve covered some of these issues in other recent columns, so let’s move on to the second possibility.

Is your connection slow? There are several ways to test the speed of your Internet connection. You can try CNET’s Bandwidth Meter (at: http://tinyurl.com/6rjjlz) or maybe http://speakeasy.net. I like the one from CNET because it shows the relative bandwidths of everything from dial-up to 3 Gservice. The one from speakeasy also gives you an estimate of upload and download speeds.

And lastly, if your PC is OK and your Internet connection is OK, maybe there’s a problem on the Website that you’re trying to access. Could be that there is a lot of traffic, the site may be undergoing some maintenance or updates or the site could be under attack. For example, about two weeks ago, Twitter was the victim of a denial-of-service attack from some evil hackers who disrupted service for users most of a day.

How can you check to see if something of that nature is happening? Try this site: downforeveryoneorjustme.com. Go to the site and type in the address of the site you’re having trouble with; then click the “or just me” link. If that site is not functioning up to par, you’ll get confirmation.

By the way if you have trouble remembering that long address (or like me, too lazy to type it); just go to Google in either Internet Explorer or Firefox and start typing downfo by the time you get that far, the site name will come up for you to select.

Written by Jim Hall.  Send your questions to geekspeak@mchsi.com.  You can find Jim online at HallsTrainingSolutions.com

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  • Published: 2207 days ago on August 19, 2009
  • By:
  • Last Modified: August 26, 2009 @ 5:54 am
  • Filed Under: Geek Speak
  • Tagged With: internet

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