I received an email from PC Pitstop (I bought a license for PC Pitstop’s PC Matic) announcing their site’s Internet speed test.
That got me thinking about the variations in connection speed that I’ve seen over the years — over days and even between sites.
Typically, the closer the bandwidth-measuring site is to you, the higher the results you will get for download speed and upload speed.
But, sometimes, the closest site isn’t the fastest. It all depends on the congestion on the net; that is, it depends on how much traffic is flowing on all parts of the network between the test server and your computer.
More traffic means slower bandwidth. There lies the whole issue of "Net Neutrality." Is it better policy for the government to regulate that all portions of the Internet, at least those that are under their jurisdiction, treat all data packets equally, or is it better to force large-bandwidth applications and large-bandwidth users to either pay more or have slower service in order to not slow down everyone else?
I’m not going to preach one way or the other, though. My issue is what happened to the speed?
Months ago, I found the Vonage test site and got about 7Mbits/second download speeds measured in actual testing. Today, I got 2.2Mbits/second from the Vonage site. Other sites today are showing me at 5Mbits/sec to 5.6Mbits/second. Last night I saw 6.2 to 6.5Mbits/second from these same sites.
In other words, we see speed differences from day to day, from time of day to time of day and from week to week, month to month. It all keys to how much traffic is flowing on the web.
My ISP has now upgraded my account from 9Mbits/second (5 was normal) to 14megabits per second — but that doesn’t help much if the data outside their system isn’t flowing as well.
Today I’m getting 11Mb/sec from their internal speed test, but only 2Mb/sec from any speed test from a site outside the Cox cable system. This is horrible.