Internet Speed Loss: Get What You Pay For

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

Long gone are the days where you accepted the speed that your dial-up connection allowed.

I remember when 56k modems were exciting. I can easily recall my first cable Internet connection. It was a lightning fast 3mbps (megabytes per second, in case you were wondering).

With gigs and megs, people talk about data and speeds sometimes as if they are interchangeable. They aren’t. Let’s get that clarification out of the way.

Thanks largely to cell phone data plans, people think in terms of how many gigs they have. What that means is that you can transmit a certain amount of data during your monthly cycle, such as 10 gigs.

The megabytes per second phrase is used to describe the rate at which data transfers. This is your Internet speed.

So now that we know what we are talking about, let’s talk speeds and how to maximize them.

As I mentioned before, I remember getting a 3mbps connection. It was lightning fast compared to the dial-up connections that had been the standard.

As times change and technology becomes more demanding, old connection speeds just won’t cut it. Web pages become more complex and the amount of data transferred goes up as well.

In order to have the same type of experience and to avoid long loading times, expectations for higher Internet speeds continue to grow.

My home 25mbps connection came and went; now, I have speeds up to 150mbps. There are speeds much higher available, but before you go paying for more speed than you need, make sure you are getting what you pay for.

Running Internet speed tests is a good place to start. You can use a website, like, to check your upload and download speed, as well as ping.

Ping is used to measure latency, or what you may classify as lag. Ping is typically measured in milliseconds and is the measured response time after sending out a request on the Internet.

The download speed is the number typically advertised and the number that is most important to your connection. So you pay for 150mbps. You run a speed test over Wi-Fi and you are only getting 80mbps. What could be the cause?

First, the best way to test your speed would be over an Ethernet cable directly connected to your modem or router. Check your speed over a wired connection to rule out any loss caused by the modem.

If you are experiencing lower than expected speeds while wired to your modem, you may need to contact your service provider. If you are getting the correct speeds while wired, there are a few possible causes.

The most likely culprits of speed loss are the devices between your modem and computer or other device. Wi-Fi and regular routers, especially those that are a little older, often have a maximum speed set at 100mbps. You may even see 10/100 on the router, indicating its 100mbps speed.

Having one of these devices is going to cost you one-third of your potential speed whether you are wired in or not.

Having quality devices to distribute your connection is as important to speed quality as the connection itself.

There are many other factors that can contribute to speed loss. Too many Wi-Fi networks in close proximity can even cause interference. While the possible causes of speed loss can vary, one thing that does not change is that you want to get what you pay for.