Understanding Internet Speed and Latency
Internet connection speed is defined by how much data is transmitted through an Internet connection each second. A connection of 5 Mbps for example means the connection is passing 5000 kilobits (or 5 megabits) of data each second. If you think about an Internet data connection in terms of a water hose, the more you turn up the spigot the more quickly water fills a bucket. Internet data is similar. If you are loading a web page (the bucket), then the faster your connection (the pressure in the hose) the faster the page will load the required data to display the page (water filling the bucket).
The size of the average email is about 100 kilobits while the average webpage without video is about 200 kilobits. These are very small buckets and your Prairie iNet connection fills them in fractions of a second. Once you start streaming video your need for speed increases. A typical video on a webpage may use about 1000 kilobits per second (or 1 Mbps). An HD streaming vidio typically ranges between 2.5 Mbps to 4 Mbps. As you stream video your need for a continuous amount of high speed data connectivity goes up exponentially. Streaming video players typically will load a buffer of data, or in other words, preload data so that the video will play more smoothly regardless of variation in connection spead.
Latency is another variable than can impact the responsiveness of your Internet connection. Latency is defined as how much time it takes for data packets to get from one location to another. Latency is measured in milliseconds (thousandths of a second). The higher the latency the longer the delay between request and response. In a network, every piece of equipment data passes through creates some amount of latency. For example, a data request may go from your computer through a WIFI device, to a router, to the radio transmitter, to a tower, to a fiber connection, to an Internet route, and to the receiving server. The request is then processed and returns through the same route in reverse. Each step in the process adds some level of latency in milliseconds. The combined latency is then the total latency you see included on the test above. With all of these variables, latency can vary dramatically from site to site you may visit. To best understand the speed of the connection you are getting from Prairie iNet, it is recommended you use the above speed test as it is testing your connection to the Internet and eliminates the many variable we do not have control over. Therefore, it is the most accurate representation of the connection quality Prairie iNet is providing.
Many other variable can impact the speed of your connection:
1. High network utilization either by multiple users on your own connection or heavy usage by subscribers in your local area can have an impact on your connection. For example, if multiple users are accessing the Internet at your location (home or business) all at once, then everyone is attempting to fill their data needs with the same hose. One way to resolve this issue is to upgrade to a faster connection to satisfy the needs of multiple users. Going from a 5 Mbps connection to a 10 Mbps connection will double the size of your hose. From a larger network view, Prairie iNet continuously monitors the network data demands and upgrades network resources (larger data pipes) to provide for the ever growing demand of Internet resources. In some instances, a large number of simultaneous users can stress network resources and cause some slowing of speeds. Prairie iNet engineers are constantly at work to minimize any such issues.
2. Issues with your connection such as misalignment of your signal or heavy interference may also cause slow speeds. If you suspect you have such an issue please contact Prairie iNet technical support for help.
3. Most locations now have routers and wireless WIFI routers. Often routers have issues with passing traffic between your devices and the Internet. If you are experiencing slow speeds, one of the first steps is to reboot your router to see if it will resolve the issue. This is the most common cause of slow speeds.
4. Frequently malware on a computer can cause slow computer response to loading data. Protect your computer devices from viruses, spyware or other malware using the latest anti-virus and spyware software. Malware programs hide in the background using up computer resources and Internet connectivity resources without you even knowing. If you suspect you have a malware issue, you can contact a local IT company for assistance.
5. As you run programs, an operating system, and browser all of these require computer RAM (Random Access Memory) and processing power to function. Too little RAM or processing power can significantly slow down your computer’s speed. If you are experience slow Internet speeds you may want to check the amount of RAM you have in your computer or the number of programs you have open at any given time. Talk to a qualified computer technician about recommendations to understand ways to improve your computer’s performance.
6. The speed of the site you are visiting can also impact how fast you receive information. The Internet is a vast network of computers and servers exchanging information around the world. The length of the route, the complexity of the route the data travels, the speed of the servers and devices processing information, the complexity of the request, the number of simultaneous requests and the amount of data being delivered all have an impact on how quickly you receive back your requested information.