Connection Speed:

What you see ain't what you get


Does it ever seem as though the web is slow, even though you dialed-up several times until you finally logged on at 44,000?  Well, that's because the 44,000 is only the speed at which your modem will "talk" to your ISP or service provider's modem.   It does not have any relationship to the speed at which their system will transfer data to and from the world wide web.   (The data transfer is called throughput.)

So how do you know if you have a connection that will yield good throughput?  Use Modem Speed Test Page1 and Modem Speed Test Page2.  Clicking either link will open a new window that will show you how your present connection is doing (by downloading a picture then displaying a graph of your throughput).  (Save these pages to your favorites, and create shortcuts on your desktop, on your Quick Launch bar, or on your Office Shortcut Bar.)   (Click the "Repeat the Test" button a few times , as the first one is sometimes not representative.)  When I was on dialup, whenever I'd log on, I'd visit these pages.  If after about three dial-ups I could not get over 4000cps on Page1, I'd take whatever, so long as whatever I got was close to 3400.  This is mediocre, but if that's all you can get....  The best I got when I had dialup at home was about 4500.  I got a throughput of 4500 with connection speeds as low as 28,800, and when logged on at 44,000 I got speeds as low as 340!  The best I have seen on dialup is 5500.

If memory serves, when I had DSL I got around 58,000 on Page1, and around 105,000 on Page2.  One my current Cable, at first I got around 80,000 on Page1 and 116,000.  (These tests are not definitive*, but they it seem to give one a good idea, and they are simple & quick.)  There was recently an upgrade to my cable service that was said to be "up to double the speed".  One these tests it was minimal - Page2 went from 106,000 to 116,000.  However, big downloads such as tech manuals or MP3 files, went from 150-200 KB/Sec to 175-300 KB/Sec.  300 is really moving.)  When I got a new computer, the speed increased dramatically.  Later, another cable upgrade took the speed to over 2,000,000.  When I got another new computer, it went to over 3,000,000!  With service this good, I think it's the rest of the world that's the holdup when I get a slow download.