How to Compare Internet Connection Speeds

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As the Internet grows, so does the amount of options available for those seeking to experience a better Internet connection. There are all types of connections, such as dial-up, cable, DSL, wireless and satellite, but within each category there are also variations in the connection speeds you may experience. Internet connection speeds depend on many factors, including price, location, plan, connection quality and more. Comparing the speeds is relatively simple, and there are many tools available to help you do so.

  • Compare connection speeds of similar types. Comparing a dial-up to a DSL connection won't yield many useful results, so choose two types of the same connection to compare. Visit an ISP's (Internet Service Provider) website to look for plans if you need help. For example, different plans will offer speeds within certain ranges, so you can look to see what speeds are available for what prices. They will usually be displayed in terms of download and upload speeds of KB/MB per second (kilobytes and megabytes respectively).

  • Compare based on the type of connection for reliability purposes. For example, satellite internet connections are capable of high speeds, but may be unreliable or even unusable in certain areas due to clouds and other weather obstructions, whereas a cable connection that uses underground wires will offer a more stable connection. Look up pros and cons of each connection type to evaluate what you may require in a connection.

  • Compare what speeds are available for what price. This will vary depending on the ISP, but if multiple ISPs are available in your area, it would be beneficial to research multiple plans from each ISP to see what speeds you can get for your budget.

  • Research the location of your home compared to the closest data center for your ISP's internet service. The data center is the building that processes all the signals for data in your area, like Internet and phone service, so you may experience slower speeds the farther away you are. The best way to find out this information is by calling your ISP.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a tool such as speedtest.net to accurately measure your specific speed. This website will show you your current upload and download speed, and the results will be affected by Internet use, congestion and distance, so it will be an accurate measure of your current speed. Use this tool to compare your speed with what is advertised, other ISP's plans, and even to check how your connection rates against other users of the same ISP.
  • If you're looking for Internet service, be careful of more than just the speed. Some ISPs may limit your bandwidth per month and charge extra if you go over it, or give you hidden charges along with your plan.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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