How To Get The Internet Speed You’re Paying For
Many internet users will notice that they’re not getting the maximum line speed listed for their account. So, how do you up your connection?
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April 17th, 2017 by Megan Ellis
Many broadband customers will notice that they’re not getting the maximum line speed listed for their account.
While sometimes this is due to factors out of your control, in many cases there are some changes you can make to improve your line speed for the same account.
So, what can you do to get the internet speed you’re paying for?
NOTE: You can test your internet speed online through sites like SpeedTest.net or TestMy.net to see at what speed your line is performing at. You can then compare this with the maximum speed of your account. There are also apps available which measure this.
Here are a few tips:
If you notice your internet speed suddenly slowing to a snail’s pace, towards the end of the month, this may mean your line is being throttled.
What is throttling? This means your line is being deliberately slowed because you have reached your monthly cap. Or, you have violated the ISP’s fair-use policy by downloading too much in a short period of time (in the case of an uncapped line).
Slow internet is definitely one of the top modern day rage inducers. So, throttling is something you want to avoid.
Take a look at your ISP’s fair-use policy and whether they have certain times that you can download without affecting your cap.
NOTE: Shaped and unshaped lines accounts are different. Shaped accounts prioritise certain traffic, like emails; while unshaped treats all data as the same.
For example, some ISPs have free night-time data. This means you can download files without affecting your overall cap between midnight and 6am.
Some providers have ‘soft caps’, which are lower than the overall cap. This means that once you reach this lower cap, your internet will slow. Once you reach the hard cap, things can get really frustrating.
So, make sure you know whether your package has a soft cap. These are sometimes hidden in the T’s & C’s of your agreement, so you’ll have to do some reading. If you find that a soft cap is enforced, you could consider changing your package to one without this restriction.
There are times that slow internet speeds are a result of problems on the ISP’s side.
If you’re noticing slower speeds, that aren’t due to throttling, check with your ISP if they’re having issues on their side. While some issues can be resolved within a few days, if you’re noticing long-term or repeated issues, you should consider taking up an account with another company.
A good way to test, if the ISP is the problem, is to sign up for a trial account with another ISP for the same line speed. If the new company has significantly faster internet, but the line speed of your account is the same as your previous one, you will know that the provider is the problem.
Some internet speed issues are out of the ISP’s hands and are actually due to exchange congestion, or your distance to an exchange.
An exchange is, essentially, a hub to which lines from various areas connect. There are usually one or two exchanges in a suburb.
These exchanges can become congested due to high demand, resulting in slower connection speeds, especially around peak times.
This is why, sometimes, when you get home and connect to the internet, your connection is slower than it is during the day, or late at night. It’s because everyone else who just got home from work is doing the same thing.
If your exchange isn’t congested, the issue could be your distance from it. The speed of data transfers reduce the further the data has to travel. So, someone with a 4Mbps connection right next to the exchange will likely have a faster connection than someone with a 4Mbps connection who is five kilometres away.
It is possible to request an exchange transfer from Telkom, but the success of your request isn’t guaranteed. Some customers have successfully been moved to a different exchange, while others cite the inability to do so.
However, it’s worth a try…
If this fails, you might want to consider an LTE connection as these accounts connect to a tower instead of using a physical exchange.
Sometimes, a weak Wi-Fi signal can be the cause of your slow internet speeds. Especially if you are located far from the router or modem.
If you suspect this is the problem, then try to use an Ethernet cable, where possible, so that your computer is directly connected to the modem ports.
If this isn’t an option, or you would end up with excessively long cables, you can also try use a Wi-Fi booster to get the signal to carry over a larger distance.
If you are still on an ADSL line, you might want to consider upgrading to fibre.
The reason behind this is that ADSL makes use of copper cables, which struggle to carry data over long distances without the signal degrading and slowing down.
Therefore, if you have a 10Mbps ADSL line, it would be better to upgrade to a 10Mbps fibre line. Fibre connections make use of optic fibre, which can carry data for longer distances at higher speeds.
Unfortunately, you don’t get fibre lines for under 10Mbps. So, if you’re on a 4Mbps ADSL line, you won’t find an equivalent fibre version.
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