Slow Internet - what causes it?
- SHARED ISP connection (read this first)
- cable ISP's
- you have spyware using your internet to send spam, worms, etc...
- antivirus updates
- usb modem connection
- not using dd-wrt firmware in your router (flaky commercial firmware that needs rebooting every week)
- 768k internet
- DSL (896kbps) and video
- windows update's BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) (microsoft security patches/updates)
- wireless only if you have 300Mbps service
- physical media (cables, fiber optic cable, etc)
SHARED ISP connection (read this first)
cable internet is defined as a shared medium. DSL, fiber optic and other methods are now going to shared connection bandwidth rather than dedicated. this is bad. this means that if a lot of people are getting on the internet at the same time as you in your area, your connection will be slow.
welcome to life in the slow lane.
physical media (cables, fiber optic cable, etc)
if you have cables that are being tripped over (kids) or routers that are being banged around, chances are that your cables or ports are bad. for the ports, you can tell by looking at them usually, there shiould be no physical damage.
problems can also be caused by the physical medium it travels over past the modem. the ISP handles this, and there are problems sometimes.0
will wireless cause it?
not likely, unless you have 300MBps service and you are using wireless-G or wireless-N with very few antennas.
cable will usually be slow because it is a shared connection. there is one transmitter for a whole section of modems. If everybody is on at the same time, things are going to be really slow.
people I know have complained about dialup speeds on their 16Mbps service. Cable Modems are supposed to be getting an upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 modems from 50Mbps to 300Mbps in 2010.
If you have cable, you are at the mercy of "how many people are on the cable network" since it is a shared connection. this is the major cause of most slowdowns.
- switch to fiber (Verizon FIOS preferably) or DSL or WiMAX (WiMAX can be flaky if you don't have the modem high up in the room and aimed right, and is not available in all areas).
- switch to a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and use 22Mbops/5Mbps or higher. Cable Modems are supposed to be getting an upgrade from 50Mbps to 300Mbps in 2010. This also means the internet backbone is going to need an upgrade as well.
usb modem connection
slowness can also be caused by using a USB connection for your internet! use ethernet instead.
this is the 2nd major cause of slowdowns.
routers with commercial firmware
routers slow down and lock up and act flaky and drop connections if they are not running dd-wrt firmware. you may need to power-cycle them periodically, especially if you are on wireless. this is the 3rd major cause of slowdowns.
If you have sattelite, it's going to be slow due to large signal latency (signal delay between earth and sattelite and network retransmission delays BOTH directions).
typically a TCP protocol transmission sends a request packet (send delay), and then waits for an ACKnowledgement (receive delay). so with TCP protocols you are doubling the latency of whatever transmission line you are using.
this is the 4th major cause of slowdowns.
having low bandwidth internet will slow you down to some degree. this is the bottom-of-the-barrel broadband.
DSL (896kbps upload) and video
I have a friend with DSL who wants to do video. this person can't afford much money. so if you want broadband and can't afford a lot, I can understand this. most all of us have a budget we are on.
what we discovered through testing is that (maybe it's her old slow underpowered machine or maybe it's the 896kbps rate), she just can't get online video to sync up with the audio when it's streamed. I don't think it's the server, we have tried correcting that. I don't think it's the source. the person had 1Mbps/896kbps due to cost (which I can understand) and it didn't hold up to the data rate being streamed. a support call verified that they said you need to have 7Mbps for streamed video.
get an antivirus program such as mcafee total protection, and do a full scan.
repair your OS if the infection is really bad or if you can't bring up windows properly or use applications.
format your computer to factory state if the infection is really bad or if you can't boot at all.
update your antivirus program or switch to mcafee total protection 2010. newer programs are less of a hog than older versions. at least mcafee total protection 2010 is well-behaved. I don't know about other programs of late except kaspersky.
mcafee is better behaved and consumes less CPU.
windows update's BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service)
no getting around this except to disable windows update and do the updates at your discretion through windowsupdate.microsoft.com (ise IE!) every month.
turning this off is not a good idea usually. the exception being if you have XP SP2 or SP1 or SP none and you are updating to SP3 or waiting for IE8 to install. then DON'T.
If you have XP, install IE8 manually first, THEN install SP3 unless you have an AMD HP, then you will need a registry patch before installing SP3.
the HP Pavilion AMD registry patch can be obtained here.
windows update's BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) doesn't have its algorithm right, and it can be downright pushy and likes to hog bandwidth, at least it used to be this way on XP - I haven't been watching it lately. I don't really notice it anymore, so I guess they fixed it on XP.