Recently, I upgraded the Internet connection package provided by my Internet Service Provider (ISP) to a higher tier of service.
I had the "up to 3 megabits per second" (Mbps) service. Over the years, that had been upgraded to " up to 7.5 Mbps" the last time I had noticed.
As I started considering the upgrade, I found that my then-current package was now marketed as "up to 12 Mbps" which had happened without me noticing. That tells you how real those numbers are…
That’s one of the effects of Internet service pricing. Those are not guaranteed speeds, they are maximums — up to the specified numbers.
Just to be clear, 1 Mbps, 3 Mbps, 4 Mbps, 6 Mbps, etc. all fall within the "up to 7.5 Mbps" service level.
Of course, the speeds varied dramatically depending upon time of day — or, really, depending on the other load on the ISP’s system.
Before upgrading to my latest service level, I tested one night at 11:45pm (23:45 or 23H45 in 24-hour wording). At 11:45pm, for some strange reason, my download speed was only 3 Mbps. At 12:15am (0H15), the tested speed was 12Mbps. Great speed, but what happened 30 minutes before that?
I upgraded to the ISP’s "up to 22 Megabits per second" package. Wow!
I’ve actually measured 22 Mbps, too, after upgrading to a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem. I reached 18 Mbps with my older Motorola Surfboard SB5120 cable modem. That was using a speedtest hosted by the ISP. But, I came close to it with testing from www.speedtest.net.
I’ve seen the speeds vary all over the map, though. Ping response time within my ISP’s system has been as low as 20 ms (milliseconds) with 70-80 ms response time from other nearby test sites.
Ping is a special request from one computer to another. It says "answer me, please." Nothing more, nothing less. Just a ping response that tells the originator that they were actually able to connect ot the remote computer.
However, I’ve also seen 340 millisecond ping responses within my ISP’s system and similar values from other test sites outside this ISP’s system.
Of course, I still have to go through at least some of the ISP’s system in order to get to the outside, so the congestion could still be between me and my ISP’s outside connections.
On the whole, my download speeds increased from 7 Mbps on a typical day to about 12 Mbps before I upgraded my modem a few days later.