After months, perhaps years, of struggling with a slow internet connection, you’ve gritted your teeth and upgraded your broadband speed with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to a higher level. It’s an extra twenty or forty bucks a month, but, heck, it will be worth it to finally not have to wait for what seems like forever just to download upgrades for your applications or wait for web pages to refresh.
Comes the day when the nameless technician in the basement at the ISP finally turns up the dial and… you are underwhelmed. Sure, it’s a little faster, but where is the blinding speed you expected? Heck, you can get faster connectivity at the hot spot in the neighborhood coffee shop!
Before you start breaking things, check with your ISP to confirm that the speed has, in fact, been upgraded. Next, run a speed test. If the figures aren’t adding up, something other than (or just other than) your broadband speed may be the problem. It’s time to trouble-shoot.
What you are paying your ISP for is connectivity and speed. That ends at the wall of your house or office. Once there, the rest of it is up to you. If, like most internet customers, you are leasing a modem from your ISP, that should be the first thing to look at. Are the connections solid? It does happen. Your ISP can ping your computer to make sure that everything is okay.
What about the modem itself? Is it a reasonably new model? Can it properly deal with the new speed that you’re now paying for? Check with your ISP to make sure. Many providers have old models in place, particularly at sites that have been customers for a long time.
If you have an older model, insist that they provide the newest one they have in their inventory (after all, you’ve proven yourself to be a good customer, willing to pay for good service). Alternatively, consider buying your own modem, which will give you greater control over what you’re using (as well as saving leasing fees).
If you have a LAN in your home or office, has your router been configured to take advantage of the higher speed? Check the documentation that came with the router or, probably more useful and easier, go on line and search for information on how to check the settings. If necessary, tweak the settings to make sure it’s functioning at full capacity. You may have to upgrade to get the full benefit of your speedier broadband.
QOS Packet Scheduler
If you have a LAN and your own modem and/or router, go into the Quality of Service Packet Scheduler tool and see how the devices on your LAN are being used. You have the ability to tailor the scheduler’s priorities to your needs.
If the QOS has an option called “optimize for gaming,” do not select it; it’s a one-size-fits-nobody option. Instead, go with your own choices in allocating broadband resources, depending on your own needs and wants. This may take some trial and error before you’re satisfied with the improvement.
It doesn’t matter what the speed limit is on the highway if you’re driving a jalopy. The processor speed is key, here. If it isn’t up to the demands of the higher speeds, your PC is just one big choke point. Of course, you have to factor in what types of applications you’re running: streaming video, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and the like can eat up a lot of processing.
Check to see what applications you’re running in the background. Do all of them have to be going on all the time? Some may just be there just because they’re there. Defaults are the enemies of speed.
If you’re housecleaning, you might as well be thorough. One way to do this is to take them all off and then add them one by one as you use you find that you need them, until you’re satisfied that you have all the applications you need running to keep yourself happy.
If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is, sort of. On the other hand, think of all that money you’re paying your ISP. Make sure that you’re getting value for your money and that should make it all worthwhile.
Tim Evans the author of this article is looking at broadband suppliers to see which one suits his needs best.