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About internet speed

  1. Jun 2, 2009 #1
    Hi, :smile:

    I'm a novice as far as computing and the internet is concerned and hence I need to get some concepts cleared about the same.

    I've availed for a broadband internet service at my residence for personal use from my local WAN service provider. The plan I've availed for is for 256 Kbps download speed. I was a bit uncertain about the speed and hence ran an online speed test using 'Speedtest.net' internet speed testing site. The following were the results of the test;

    Latency test (ping test) = 25ms
    Download speed = 310Kbps
    Upload speed = approx. about 70Kbps
    The bandwith speed is 10Mpbs as displayed at the task bar connectivity icons of my PC.

    When I ran the same online test for other computers (i.e. at my workplace) I got the following results;

    Latency test (ping test) = 30ms
    Download speed = 420Kbps
    Upload speed = approx. about 430Kbps
    The bandwith speed is 100Mpbs as displayed at the task bar connectivity icons.

    What I want to understand is, whether I'm getting a good bargain for what I'm paying the ISP. Does bandwidth speed has something to do with low download speeds (10Mpbs at my residence, 100Mpbs at my workplace)? I feel my network connection speed is not up to the mark. I will be very grateful for any help received in this regard as it is bugging me for quite sometime and am losing sleep over it.

    Thanks & best regards,
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2009 #2
    To explain those results, 310 kb/s is probably what you care about, that is the speed you can download things. Since you said you are paying for 256 kb/s, and are actually getting 310 kb/s you are getting better than what you paid for. 70 kb/s is your upload speed or what speed you will send files to other people. Almost always for home internet connections the download speed is faster than the upload, as most people don't do much uploading. For most people probably the only thing you'd use a higher upload speed for is peer to peer file sharing (like bit torrent).

    The bandwidth speed of 10 and 100 mb/s doesn't really matter to you. It is only the speed of your network, as in the speed from the computer to your router or modem. It would only matter for transfers on your home network (as in moving a file between two computers both in your home), or if it were less than your internet speed. 10 mb/s is 10,000 kb/s, so that is not a concern for you. You could upgrade your network to 100 mb/s but, if you don't use your home network then it probably doesn't matter at all. Again, this speed has nothing to do with your ISP, so don't think they are holding you back.

    As for your internet speed not being fast enough, dial up internet is about 50 kb/s so you are getting about 6 times faster than that. However, as you are getting more than the advertised speed there probably isn't much you can do unless you switch to a faster plan or ISP, sorry.
  4. Jun 2, 2009 #3


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    I concur with Dale.

    You're paying for 256, you're getting 310-420. Typical.

    The 10/100Mbps is the speed between your modem and your computer i.e. your home/office network. It has nothing to do with your ISP. This is also typical. Basically, your internal network is wide open. It will never be the bottleneck.
  5. Jun 2, 2009 #4
    Thank you all for reply. :smile:
    I just want to know for general knowledge why such a vast difference in bandwidth speed in both cases 10Mbps/100Mbps)? is it due to signal loss in the wires between modem and my PC? especially since my modem is at my building terrace and i stay on the ground floor.

    Also, i've come across several adverts of internet speed boosting free softwares claiming to boost internet speed several times over. Are they genuine or just a sham? shall i go on to download them?

    Finally, how do I summarize my query? plz guide.

    Best regards,
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  6. Jun 2, 2009 #5

    Earlier, I had an ASDL network connection provided by the local phone company (which i eventually discontinued due to lack of after sales service). back then, my bandwidth speed displayed 100Mpbs. so where does the discrepancy lie? does it depend on the type of network connection technology or length of the cable?
    Thanx :smile:
  7. Jun 2, 2009 #6


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    Unless you use a switcher, the bandwidth on your local network will drop to the speed of the slowest device on your local network, probably the modem (or router) you're using now has a slower bandwidth. It wont have any significant effect on your internet access, but would impact file transfers between computers on that network, although unless you have a router or good firewall, you probably don't want file sharing enabled on the same network you used to access the internet.
  8. Jun 2, 2009 #7
    Networks can run at different speeds, and usually the slowest device in the network is what speed the whole network must run at. It could be something as simple as the cable you are now using to connect your PC to the router or modem is cat4 instead of cat5. What hardware changes were there when you switched from DSL? Do you have a router, or are you directly connected to the modem? Again this really doesn't matter, if you upgrade all your gear to be 100 mb/s (or even 1000 mb/s) you still won't notice any difference in the internet speed.


    I wouldn't trust anything that claimed it would speed up your internet. Getting back to the original problem of slow internet though. Your works bandwidth isn't much faster than your homes, so if your work's internet seems much faster than your homes it's likely that something else is the problem. Often when people use old computer loaded with crap the whole system runs slow, and this is often blamed as the internet being slow. What specifically makes you feel your internet is slow? Is it slow on web pages, or downloaded big files, or using peer to peer? There could be specific ways to make it seem faster or fix problems.
  9. Jun 2, 2009 #8
    Firstly, thank you all for reply. :smile:
    The concept of modem, router and switcher is a bit sketchy to me….. and as such I think they are one and the same. Pardon my ignorance in this regard. Currently, the system at my place is like this; A switcher is installed at my terrace by the ISP guys. A cat5 cable is connected between the switcher and Ethernet port of my PC. With this arrangement, the bandwidth speed displayed on screen is 10Mpbs.

    Earlier, I had an ADSL connection in which a modem was hooked up to my phone line. A cat5 cable was connected between the modem and Ethernet port of my PC. With this arrangement, the bandwidth speed displayed on screen was 100Mpbs.

    Although my internet is working satisfactorily, I thought I would verify the same from experts as there is a vast difference in bandwidth speed in case of the two different kinds of arrangements by the ISPs. Also, the speed tests gave different results.

    I just want to understand, as to why is there such a vast variation in bandwidth speed in the above different types of arrangements?

    Does variation in bandwidth speed affect download/upload speed?

    Why has bandwidth speed dropped to 10Mpbs in my current arrangement, whilst with the earlier ADSL it was 100Mpbs? Is it a result of losses in the cable due to distance of my PC from the switcher or due to difference in the two technologies?

    Finally, what is the difference between a modem, router and switcher?

    I did be very grateful for a suitable reply. Thanx once again

    Best regards,
  10. Jun 2, 2009 #9


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    There are several different standards for ethernet, the network standard that you're using between your PC and other hardware.

    The oldest standard runs at 10 Mbps, while newer standards run at 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps on slightly different cables.

    It sounds like the ADSL modem supports 100 Mbps ethernet, while the system you have now only supports 10 Mbps. There's no mystery, and nothing is wrong with either device or the cabling.

    It's irrelevant, anyway, because your actual internet connection is much slower than either.

    - Warren
  11. Jun 2, 2009 #10


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    The ADSL modem ran at 100mbps, assuming your current "switcher" is a true "switcher" it's running at 10mbps, and there's no way to know the fastest rate of your modem. My guess is that you probably have a router instead of a switcher between your PC and cable modem.

    If you don't have multiple PC's you can just direct connect the PC to the cable modem. If you do have multiple PC's, you can buy a better router, like a "gigabit" router (or at least a router with 10/100mbps switcher built in). This was the only "wired" home type gigabit router I could find:

    http://games.dlink.com/products/?pid=371&#DGL-4100 [Broken]

    There are several wireless gigabit routers from dlink, cisco/linksys, netgear, ...

    You can change to a better router (or switcher) without involving the cable provider.

    You may also consider buying a better cable modem. In this case you need to inform the cable company of the cable modem model type and MAC address, so they can download the start up software the cable modem uses to control speeds and assign ip's. I use a Toshiba PCX2600, which is full a duplex 100mbps cable modem that can support up to 16 pc's (separate ips), but my cable provider limits this to 3 ip's (with a montly fee charged for the 2nd and 3rd ip):

    http://www.toshiba.com/taisnpd/products/pcx2600.html [Broken]

    In some cases the router's sharing of an ip using the 5th term port address conflicts with some games or application if you have multiple computers connected via WAN (going out to the internet and back instead of staying local on the LAN) all running the same game or application. The only work around is multiple ip's from the cable provider and using a switcher.

    switchers, routers, modems

    A switcher buffers incoming and outgoing data packets and can receive and send these data packets at different rates. On my system, the rate between PC's and switcher is 1000 kbps, and between switcher and cable modem is 100 mpbs. A switcher does not modify the contents of the data packets it receives and sends, it just buffers them and allows speed changes, usually in the range from 10kpbs to 1000kbps in the case of PC's. Other than the speed change, the switcher is a tranparent device and all devices on the switcher see each other via native ip addresses.

    A router includes the functions of a switcher and allows multiple computers to share an "external" ip address. This is done by appending a 5th term port address to the 4 term ip information in the data packets. A separate set of ports addresses is used for each computer hooked up to the router. A router assigns internal ip's to each connected computer, such as 10.xxx.xxx.xxx, and then the router changes these to your ip with an appended port, such as 57.xxx.xxx.xxx:1234 for external transfers of those data packets via the "internet port" on the router. The port suffix is maintained so that returned packets have those same port addresses so the router knows which computer and internal ip address to use. Some cheap routers don't include speed switching and run at the rate of the slowest device connected.

    A cable modem assigns "external" (WAN) ip addresses to each computer and/or router hooked up to the cable modem at initial set up time based on information downloaded from the cable provider and the MAC addresses of the device(s) connect to the cable modem. If you change devices, you need to power cycle the cable modem and do a network connection "repair" to allocate and assign a new ip from the cable provider. After this is done, the cable modem will "remember" the ip(s) and associated MAC address(es). Any "unknown" MAC addresses are ignored by the cable modem (until you do another "repair"). For multiple ip's and computers and/or routers, since the cable modem only has a single ethernet connector, a switcher is required to connect the multiple computers and/or routers to the cable modem.

    A DSL (ADSL) modem assigns one "external" ip address to a computer or router. A DSL (ADSL) router is required to handle multiple external ip addresses and multiple devices. I assume that DSL router service is more expensive than the cable provider equivalent.

    PC to PC communication occurs via the ip addresses assigned by the router or cable modem.

    Cable modems have 128 "channels", and each external ip uses one or more channels (muitliple channels per ip are used to increase bandwidth). I'm not sure how cable companies resolve conflicts between cable modem channels on their networks, other than to have a seperate cable hub for each "neighborhood" of cable modems on their cable networks. The cable hubs communicate between their cable network and internet backbone.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Jun 2, 2009 #11
    Thanx very much for all the info. :smile:

    At the outset, then shall I conclude that nothing's wrong with my connection and that my doubts are unfounded?
  13. Jun 2, 2009 #12


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    There's nothing at all wrong with your connection. You're paying for 256 kbps, and getting 310 kbps.... You should be pleased.

    - Warren
  14. Jun 2, 2009 #13
  15. Jun 2, 2009 #14


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    If you have mutiple PC's on a router, and transfer data between those PC's, then a better router will speed up those transfers regardless of the modem speeds. Otherwise the speed between the PC and modem doesn't matter as long as it's as fast as the modem. A better modem wouldn't help much with your current 310kbps bandwidth limit.

    I rewrote my previous post to clean it up a bit.

    Also the ADSL equivilant to a cable modem which supports multiple exernal ip's is called an ADSL router, which I'm guessing is probably an expensive service compared to the multiple ip packages offered by cable providers.
  16. Jun 2, 2009 #15

    Well, I'm using a single PC for personal use (as the name suggests :wink:).
  17. Jun 2, 2009 #16


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    Then I'm not sure why a router or switcher was used between your computer and the modem. You should be able to direct connect the PC to the modem. Perhaps it's a wireless router and wireless modem that are not physically connected?
  18. Jun 2, 2009 #17

    The switcher is installed at the terrace of my building by the ISP guys. A cat5 cable is directly connected presumably between the switcher and the Ethernet port of my PC. The switcher might be used as the ISP caters to other customers also, being part of WAN.
  19. Jun 2, 2009 #18


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    So multiple customers in the same building share the "switcher"? Does it appear that the computers in your building are operating on a common LAN? If the computers don't "see" each other as on a LAN, it's more likely that the ISP is using some type of multiplexer to combine/seperate independent ethernet data streams onto/from a common medium, such as a fiber optic cable.
  20. Jun 3, 2009 #19

    I'm a bit slow when it comes to computer communications terminology. I mentioned the word 'switcher' as I had overheard the ISP guys using the word 'switch at the terrace'. As part of WAN I do not have an IP address. I connect to the internet via a username and password and clicking the 'connect' button. I'm unsure about the multiplexer part as i've not verified the same on site.

    Also, currently the speed test displayed download speed as 280Kbps and upload speed as 100Kbps. The ping test revealed approx. about 50ms. These are the variations which occur from time to time which is buggin' me!

    Thanx & Best regards,
  21. Jun 3, 2009 #20


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    You don't need them. Unless you are one of those types that believe in everything as advertized, download and install everything, and then call for help because their computer is not working (due to 911 conspiracy/Americas fault/gov controllig their minds - whatever).
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