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How To Increase Your Internet Speed
No matter how fast your web pages load in your internet browser and your files download, there are a few tricks you can use to make it faster.
There are many bottlenecks. Some have solutions. Some are free, some are expensive.
I’ll use “PC”, but this information applies to Macs, LINUX, Wi-Fi connected smartphones, any computer.
I’ll list them first, and then I’ll dive deeper into each one and explain them from a layman’s perspective. You can always use Google to learn more.
1. CPU speed, 2. RAM, 3. Browser download, 4. Packet size, 5. Wireless connection, 6. Modem, 7. Last mile speed, 8. Connection speed, 9. Router boot, 10. Time pinging, 11. congestion, 12. server loading.
1. The speed of the computer chip (CPU). Newer or more expensive PCs have a faster processor, and some have multiple processors (cores). This is the work horse of the computer. Although there are several variables (CPU cache, RAM speed, etc.), the CPU controls all activities. Slower single processors (such as 1.6 GHz or GHz) simply cannot run as fast as a 3.6 GHz dual or quad core processor. Smartphones have a slower processor.
2. RAM is memory. Typical Windows configurations have 4 gigabytes (4 GB) of RAM. Older computers can’t hold that much. Some PCs come with fewer; you will have to buy more. When you open apps or web pages, they are stored in RAM for fast response. After the RAM is full, additional data is transferred to a special file on the hard disk. There is a hard disk very slow compared to RAM. If your PC has less than 4GB of RAM, and you can justify the costs and your PC can handle it, it can greatly affect the speed of your PC. Crucial.com has good prices, quality RAM, and a configuration tool. Any local PC shop can install RAM.
3. Different browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera) have different functions and speeds. Opera is fast, but too simplistic. Try Google Chrome. Firefox has many additional features (add-ons).
In any browser, close or disable toolbars you don’t use. Some have an “X” or right click on an empty area of the toolbar and uncheck the ones you don’t need. You can restore them later.
4. Package size. You can run TCP optimizer (XP only) at Speedtest.Comcast.net and also get an alternative speed test at Speedtest.net (they will give different results). Use them for before/after comparisons.
5. Wireless connections are much slower than wired Ethernet cables. If you have more than one device on your Wi-Fi network, they all drop down to the speed of the lowest device.
Slow wireless speeds can often be reset by unplugging your wireless router from AC power, but before doing so, be sure to reset…
6. A modem that connects you to the Internet. Unplug it from AC power, wait 60 seconds, then plug the modem back in. Wait until all the lights turn on (a minute or two), restart the PC, then restore power to the wireless router.
7. The last mile is the connection from your home to your ISP (Internet Service Provider). From slow to fast, they are ranked: dial-up, satellite, slow DSL, fast DSL, cable, premium/business cable, fiber optic. DSL speed is largely determined by your distance from the nearest telephone building.
8. Connection speed is all the connections between you and your ISP.
9. Router load is the ability of your ISP to handle the demands of local customers. Clients that download giant movie files can slow down all users in your area.
10. A ping time is the speed of the connection between you and the server where the web page or file is stored. Shorter ping time means faster data transfer.
11. Congestion is other data moving along with yours. The ISP changes routes to avoid congestion between major cities. The shortest route may not be the fastest or even unavailable.
12. Server load is the amount of traffic a website is handling. If millions of people read a news article and try to visit the same website at the same time, that server may not be able to handle all those requests.
So, free things you can do to improve the speed of your Internet connection: disconnect the router, disconnect the modem, connect the modem, restart the computer, connect the router, change the packet size.
If you are willing to spend money, increase RAM to 4GB, use a PC with a faster CPU, a faster ISP connection (phone to DSL, DSL to cable, cable to premium cable, fiber if available). The new wireless router works faster than the old one as long as your device’s Wi-Fi can match it (802.11G or 802.11N wireless network).
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