There are multiple reasons for slow internet. Before getting in touch with your ISP, it is advisable to conduct a speed test. Because, this will confirm if the speed really is slow. Below are some reasons for slow internet.
Device is Jammed
One of the most common reasons for the internet being slow is that your router/modem is outdated, and gets jammed very easily. This happens when the router or the modem receives information which is more than their handling capacity. Resetting the router or the modem can help resolve this problem.
High Traffic levels with the Network Provider
The slowdown of the internet can also be due to excessive traffic, either in your home network or the network of your internet provider. With several people being online at the same time, there is a possibility of the network’s bandwidth being maxed out. This happens due to the data forwarded and received.
You need to call the customer service of your ISP so that they can boost the speed of the network.
The ISP (Internet Service Provider) throttling the connection
The ISP throttles the internet to slow down a specific internet connection. This throttling of the internet means slowing down the internet ‘intentionally’. This is done by the ISP’s due to multiple reasons but there are times this is also done by the users. You might want to limit the connection speed if you are on a limited data plan.
Reasons ISP’s Throttle Internet
There are specific reasons for the ISP’s throttling the internet.
- Some ISP’s throttle the internet connection of a customer based on his internet activities. Although this is not legal, it is done to preserve the internet speed for other users.
- An ISP might have a clause that allows them to throttle the internet of their customers, once they reach a specific limit of the data. You need to check this out before deciding on any ISP.
- The speed of a network may also be decreased at that point where this connects to another part of a specific network. The content providers can be compelled by the ISP to pay more for access.
Does Speed Test detect Throttling?
If you are not experiencing high traffic on your network and your router and modem is fine then the reason for slow internet might be throttling.
You can conduct a speed test to find out if the connection is throttled or no. This might not give you a result that is accurate or precise but this is close to your connection. Most often, the ISP’s are aware when a user conducts a speed test and stop throttling during that time. The best option available to find out is to try a VPN. The VPN prevents the ISP from finding out when you are conducting a speed test. With this test with a VPN, you get a clear idea of whether your ISP is throttling the internet or not.
Conspiracy theorists place some ISPs in the category of one of the evil corporations, as they’ve been known to track and monitor online activity and store personal information.
Although it’s unlikely your ISP is out to get you, they have been known to tamper with connections; throttling bandwidth for customer’s using excessive data with the intention to limit their usage, or encourage the upgrading of subscriptions.
There are ways to check if your connection is being throttled, and in the article, we’ll outline some of the most accessible techniques and why using a VPN can overcome these issues.
Shaping BitTorrent Traffic
If you’ve noticed that BitTorrent downloads have become slower lately, but you aren’t sure whether it’s because of high traffic or if your ISP is to blame, there is a way to check.
Neubot can monitor and compare P2P and normal traffic to help you establish any discrepancies. It is worth noting that the program isn’t that simple, and we recommend that you follow a tutorial on how to use it effectively and efficiently. However, once you do get the hang of it, it can be a wonderful tool.
Netflix and YouTube Throttling
Netflix FAST Speed Test is an easy-to-use tool that shows your internet speeds on Netflix to check if your ISP is throttling the connection.
Also, you can check out Google’s Video Quality Report, which shows you how strong your connection to YouTube’s servers is. Again, compare this data to your other speed tests; if you find that your internet speed is good except when using YouTube, then your ISP might be playing a part.
Your ISP could be throttling your connection if you’re using too much data; this can be done get you to pay for extra. There’s a way to check, but testing to see whether your ISP is guilty requires patience.
You will need to regularly test and record your internet speed, preferably for one month. The best strategy is to record your internet speed when your internet data renews, throughout the month, and most importantly, towards the end.
If your ISP is throttling your internet connection, then you may notice that your speed gradually drops over time, or reaches a certain point and changes drastically. Even if you have unlimited data, your ISP will still have a cap, though typically, that cap will be very high.
Check out the Internet Health Test website for tests regarding interconnection issues. When you use the internet, data travels via the ISPs interconnection points before it can reach the desired destination.
Using the Internet Health Test tool checks the different routes that your data can take when it is transmitted, and identifies where performance drops; typically, this is at these interconnection points.
Why Using a VPN Is So Important
As a result, your ISP doesn’t know what you’re doing, and they cannot control your connection. When connected to VPN servers, data is encrypted, secure, private, and unaffected by any third parties.
We recommend you use a premium VPN provider to ensure a robust and uninterrupted connection, and our top recommendations are ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Private Internet Access.
Regardless of which you choose, with these, you are sure to have a better, more secure internet experience.
Internet service providers (ISPs) throttle internet connections for three main reasons: data-type deprioritization, data caps, and network management during high traffic times.
With satellite and other rural internet types, the most common reason for throttling is going over your data cap. Fixed-wireless and mobile hotspot connections can also run into throttling related to data caps. And though it’s less common (because their data caps are more generous), it can even happen with cable and DSL internet connections as well.
If your internet tends to slow to a crawl at the end of the month, data cap throttling is your most likely culprit.
Both HughesNet and Viasat (formerly Exede) have a few easy ways to check your monthly data usage to see if that’s why your speeds are slowing down.
- Viasat customers can check data usage on the Viasat mobile app or by logging in to your MyViasat account.
- HughesNet customers can also check data use by logging in to your online HughesNet account or on the HughesNet mobile app.
Your internet speeds can get throttled for data use even if you have an unlimited data plan. Most providers with unlimited plans give you a monthly high-speed data allowance—and after you use that up, you can get stuck with throttled speeds until the next billing cycle (but it will technically be an unlimited amount of data at that throttled speed).
What is internet throttling?
Internet throttling is when your internet service provider (ISP) intentionally limits your internet bandwidth. There are a few reasons why an ISP might throttle your bandwidth—including network management during high-traffic times, which is the most likely reason for cable internet throttling—but, as we said before, the most common one for satellite internet users is a data cap overage. Whatever the reason, throttling manifests itself as sluggish (sometimes unusably slow) internet speeds.
If your data cap isn’t the issue, check with a VPN
If you’re still well under your data cap for the month, your ISP might still be throttling your internet for another reason. There aren’t reliable ways to check for throttling due to network management, but you can use a VPN (virtual private network) to see if your ISP is throttling your use because of data-type prioritization.
Using a VPN can stop throttling because a VPN hides your data—so your ISP can still see how much data you’re using, but it can’t specify what the data is. (For example, your provider might limit how much bandwidth you can use for Netflix or other video streaming services. But when you use a VPN, they don’t know what you’re using your internet data for.)
How to check throttling with a VPN
- Run an internet speed test.
- Turn on a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN and need a recommendation, we like NordVPN and Windscribe (the latter of which is free).
- Run a speed test again and compare your results. If your speed is a lot faster during the second test, you’re probably dealing with ISP throttling.
If it sounds fishy that your ISP can throttle you because it doesn’t like how you use the internet, that’s because it is—especially when the ISP is throttling one type of data in favor of another (for example, a provider might throttle Netflix to push customers to use its own proprietary video streaming service instead).
Paid prioritization used to be illegal under net neutrality, which is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally by internet providers. But those protections have been gone in the US since 2018. 1
How do I stop bandwidth throttling?
If you experience throttling because of a data cap, there are two main ways to escape slow speeds:
- Reduce data use
- Purchase more high-speed data
Unfortunately, there’s not much more you can do than that, but if you need tips on how to stay within your limit, check out our guide to internet data caps.
If your bandwidth is being throttled because of data prioritization, use a VPN. This trick works better with cable, fiber, or DSL. Normally we wouldn’t recommend using a VPN with a satellite internet connection because adding a VPN to your network can itself cause slower speeds or higher latency, which are two issues already inherent to satellite internet. But if you run into network throttling of this kind often, a VPN might be the only way around it.
How to tell when it’s not throttling
Not all slow internet speeds are caused by ISP throttling. Network outages, bad weather, equipment malfunctions, and other issues can also cause uncharacteristically slow internet speeds. To find the exact cause, you’ll need to troubleshoot your internet connection.
At the moment, the easiest and simplest method to know that if your Internet Service Provider throttles your internet speed is to run a speed test and then install a Virtual Private Network and run the speed test again. If after the VPN, your connection seems to be faster than it was before then the most likely conclusion would be that your ISP is intentionally slowing down your Internet Connection or throttling it.
A VPN connection creates a well-encrypted privacy wall around your internet connection and prevents your ISP from peeking into it. Along with a secure, well-encrypted connection, your ISP also won’t be able to throttle your internet connection. But, before you can conclude that it really is your ISP slowing down your connection, you must understand the difference between throttling and other types of slowing in your internet connection.
- [Source: Kim Komando Show]
Reasons behind why internet speed slow down?
If you notice that your internet connection is slower than usual and the speeds that you are getting are also slower, then one out of these three issues will likely be what is causing your internet connection to slow down .
1. Your network provider is facing high traffic levels.
Internet connections work just like roadways for digital information, and just like real roadways, when having high traffic, they can run into slowdowns and traffic jams. These slowdowns can either be from your ISP’s network or your home network. If either one of these have a large amount traffic, the result would be in your connection getting slowed down.
If many people in the same area are online at the same time, the data they are sending back and forth on the network can max out the network’s bandwidth and cause slowing of the internet connection. If this happens, it is mostly in highly populated areas during peak hours on evenings and weekends. You can call your ISP’s customer support service and ask them to boost the network speed in your area to prevent slowing of the connection.
If it is not your ISP’s network, then it probably will be your home network that has a lot of devices connected to it at the same time which may be causing the slowing of your internet connection. For this, you will need a higher connection speed to handle your internet activities.
2. Your device is jammed.
One of the most common reasons why your internet connection slows down is that your device(Modem/Router) is a bit outdated and gets jammed frequently.
Sometimes, Modems and Routers may receive more information than their handling capacity and it results in your internet connection being slowed down or completely getting froze.
The most common solution for this is to reset your modem or router, which will clear out all the data stored on the router and will get your network back to the normal speed. You can also look a new, better router if this is what causing your internet connection to slow down.
3. Your provider is throttling your connection.
Internet throttling is done by your ISP to slow down your internet connection. Internet throttling means “intentionally slowing down your interenet connection“.
Most of the times it is done by the ISPs due to one reason or another, while sometimes a user may have to throttle their own service in order to have a stable connection.
Other times, if you are on a limited data plan then you might want to limit your connection speed in order to conserve data and hence throttle your connection.
When the slowdown of your internet connection is natural due to high traffic then it is not considered throttling as many devices are connected to the same network due to which the connection speed is hampered.
However, if your ISP intentionally slows downs the connection speed of one customer in order to increase the speed of another, then this act would definetly be considered throttling.
Why do ISPs throttle internet?
There are certain reasons behind doing this process.
- When you subscribe to an internet plan from a particular ISP then they may have a clause that will allow them to throttle your connection if you reach a specific data limit. So, if you are over the data limit then your ISP may slow down your internet connection.
- Some of the ISPs have been accused of throttling a customer’s connection speed based on his internet activities. Although there is no such law that would allow any such act, ISPs still do it in order to preserve the speed for other users. For instance, if a user was participating in activities which require high bandwidth speeds such as downloading very large files via torrent then an ISP may be throttling the user’s connection speed.
- An ISP may also decrease the speed of its network at a point where it connects to another part of the internet. This may allow the ISP to compel the content providers whose traffic regularly comes through that connection to pay more for access
Speed Tests may not be enough to detect throttling
If your modem/router is fine and you don’t have a high traffic on your network then it probably will be that your ISP is throttiling your connection.
The easiest way to find out that if your connection is being throttled is to perform a speed test. A speed test may tell you about your internet connection speeds. Although a speed test may not give you the most precise and accurate result, but it would be close to your connection.
For instance, if you have a connection of 10 Mbps then your speed will fluctuate and at times you may find it around 8 Mbps and sometimes around 9-10 Mbps.
However, it should also be noted that most ISPs know when a user starts a speed and for the time being, stop throttling. The speed test result looks normal, but after the test is done, the ISPs goes back to throttling. So, you should definitely try out a VPN to find out if your ISP is really throttling your connection.
How a VPN can be useful in such situations?
The best choice to find out about throttling is a VPN which can prevent your ISP from finding out that what you are really doing on the internet.
Whether you are running a speed test, or downloading large files via torrent, your ISP won’t find out.
And through a VPN you will also be able to get an accurate speed test that will help you find out if your ISP is really throttling your internet.
Internet throttling is very frequent on smartphones and other wireless devices, but not very popular with cable and fiber. The only method to genuinely test internet throttling is through using a VPN service. You can simply follow the steps given below to see if your internet is being throttled.
- Run an internet speed test
- Download a Virtual Private Network
- Run a second speed test to differentiate test results
If your network is somehow being throttled, your speed will drastically improve once you install a reliable VPN service. If you don’t notice any considerable change, then there are other reasons causing sluggish internet speed.
Internet bandwidth is never limited to you. Your cellphone towers are disseminating signals across a range of devices at the same time. For this reason, some internet service providers may limit your speed or limit your usage speeds without informing you, allowing other users to connect to their towers.
Typically, Internet Service Providers only throttle when they consider that you are a heavy internet user. A regular user will never experience network throttling. If your internet is slow then there are some other reasons behind it and is advisable to contact your support agent to fix your issue
It might be sometimes frustrating to run a speed test and see that you are getting low internet speeds than what you would have bought it. The question arises are you being throttled? Or is it some other prevailing issue?
What is Data Throttling?
Throttling is the process of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) automatically slowing down without you even knowing. Sometimes you will be experiencing slow data transmissions speeds through; your equipment may not be at fault here.
Internet service providers are restricted to inform their users that their data is being throttled due to some rules and regulations, so the uncertainty behind a sluggish internet connection can be quite stressful for you.
Presently, you will usually see throttling through your entire network connection. Some people worry that their data might be throttled over the network, but this is just a common issue with no need to fear.
Why do ISPs throttle data?
There are many reasons why your Internet Service Provider might be throttling your data, resulting in internet throttling.
- You have used your data limit
Many users might have limited data so when their data limit has been reached; the ISPs are likely to slow down their internet. You will see your internet speeds drastically reduced, instead of your internet service completely shutting off. The slower speeds can be annoying, but it’s better to have an internet connection completely shut off
- You are connected during heavy traffic time
While bandwidth may certainly not be an issue for major internet service providers, the fact remains that it is a limited resource. With extremely heavy data usage, ISPs can cut-off your bandwidth to allow other internet users to receive high speed.
- Your ISP is choosing to throttle your specific activity
The competency of an ISP to throttle may be extended, adding the ability to limit your internet speed to heavy data users such as those who are streaming videos on Netflix or some other heavy data using services. If the costs of the ISPs are increased towards their end, you might end up paying those extra costs to resume using their data services
How to check if your ISP is throttling your bandwidth
The most likely way to tell if your internet is being throttled is to run a free speed test available online. However, many internet providers can detect these speed test service that can artificially increase your download and upload speed to instill confidence in you that your connection is working fine.
The only reliable and authentic way to check whether your connection is being throttled is by using a VPN service. ISPs may sometimes monitor your content which, a VPN can make sure this practice is not used by shadowing your IP address and activities from your ISP.
So with your ISP forced to treat all your content as equivalent and not be able to see what content you are viewing from where, you should be able to see your true internet speeds
Going back to the previous section of how to see if your internet is being throttled you can see the same steps as specified below
- Run an internet speed test
- Download a well-known VPN service
- Run a second speed test to differentiate test results
If your internet speeds are below the average that you might expect, then odds are your connection is being throttled
How to fix data throttling
There are a couple of steps involved in how to fix throttling issues
- Monitor your monthly data usage: if you’ve exceeded your data limit and not aware of it, then you might want to head to your smartphone settings and set the data usage limit. Smartphones now can warn you of the data limit before if finishes. If you feel that you need some extra data then you would want to purchase a higher data limit package to avoid throttling issues
- Buy a reputable VPN: a popular and reliable VPN may be able to provide you with a solution. If VPN doesn’t solve your issue then follow the next two steps given below. Now, video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are becoming intelligent to detect if you are on a VPN and may restrict you from utilizing their services
- Switch to a new internet service provider: some ISPs are more aggressive when it comes down to exceeding data usage and slowing down internet speeds respectively. Every ISP has a different cap in its terms and conditions. If you think you are constantly being throttled, you may want to sign with another ISP that has a significantly higher data bandwidth.
Inform your government representative: if all the above solutions don’t work out for you so the last resort would be to inform your government to provide open internet access. By submitting your concerns and contacting your congressperson, you can add your right to have content prioritization and fight against internet throttling.
Internet service providers throttling your connection could really slow down your internet speed, but you may be able to fix the problem at home with a VPN.
Internet throttling is real, but a VPN could be a solution.
Slow internet speeds can be caused by a number of things. Your router could be outdated or it could be too far away from your TV or computer, for example. Those fixes may be as easy as restarting your modem and router or upgrading to a mesh network. But another reason for your slow Wi-Fi could be bandwidth throttling. Resulting from the 2019 Supreme Court decision declining to hear an appeal on net neutrality, ISPs can still legally stifle your internet, limiting your broadband if you’re streaming more TV than they want and serving slower connections to websites owned by their competitors.
One solution to slow Wi-Fi — if it is, in fact, caused by internet throttling — is a virtual private network . Basically, ISPs need to see your IP address to slow down your internet, and a good VPN will shield that identity — though it comes with some limitations and downsides, which I’ll discuss below.
The cause of your sluggish Wi-Fi connection might be something simpler; maybe you just need to reposition your router or need to add a Wi-Fi range extender . We’ll walk you through how to tell if throttling is to blame and, if not, what to do about fixing your crummy Wi-Fi.
First, troubleshoot your slow internet connection
So your Wi-Fi is slow and you think your service provider is throttling your connection. Before you jump to those conclusions, it’s important to run through the usual troubleshooting list: Check that your router is centrally located in your home, reposition its antennas, double check your network security and so on. If you want to read about more ways to optimize your Wi-Fi, check out our suggestions.
If you’ve run through the laundry list and your Wi-Fi is still chugging, move on to the next step.
Test your internet speed
Once you’ve made sure there are no simple explanations to your Wi-Fi woes, you can get a more in-depth measurement of the health of your internet in a number of ways. I would suggest starting out with a simple test through M-Lab. This will check your connection speed, essentially gauging whether your ISP is providing consistent performance no matter the content you’re accessing. This measurement isn’t perfect, but it’s a good starting place.
Suppose you’re on season 3 of the Disenchantment series on Netflix. The night is young and you are feeling energetic. Since the week’s been tough, streaming your favorite show comfortably on a plushy couch seems like a great idea to spend your Saturday. Suddenly, you notice a monumental drop in video quality. Not only that, the screen starts pixelating, the audio begins fluctuating, and finally, buffering takes over. You remember paying your internet bill on time. Then, what could be the reason behind this lag? There may be many. For starters, you may be streaming at a peak traffic hour, your equipment may be outdated, or something may be interfering with your in-home Wi-Fi signal. We recommend you get a Cox wifi Panoramic Gateway and range extender pods to solve all these issues in one go. Wi-Fi’s not the problem? Then, perhaps you may be suffering at the hands of ISP throttling. What is ISP throttling, how can you detect it and what are the ways to stop it? Let’s find out below.
Table of Contents
What is Throttling & Why Does it Happen?
Internet throttling is a practice in which internet service providers purposefully limit your bandwidth transmission. As a result, you receive lower speeds than the usual. Why do ISPs throttle bandwidth, you ask? Good question. There may be multiple reasons behind this. Here are the most commonly understood ones:
On Exceeding Data Cap
You may experience data throttling once you hit your data cap. Data caps are pre-defined limits on the amount of data you can use over your home network in a month. Some internet service providers levy data allowances on their internet plans. In other words, they do not offer unlimited data. Once you hit the data cap, i.e. exceed allowance, your ISP may intentionally slowdown your bandwidth transmission, throttling your internet speed.
On Surfing at Rush Hour
Certain types of internet connections, specifically cable internet, are ‘shared’ between users in a community. For instance, if your next-door neighbor starts taking his online classes the same time you are planning to stream an episode online, then you can expect some form of speed throttling due to high usage time. In peak traffic hours, the probability of exceeding bandwidth allowance remains high, which is why internet service providers limit data transmission, so all customers can enjoy equal, albeit slow, internet connectivity.
Whatever the reason may be, throttling is annoying and feels intrusive. The following sections will give you an idea of how to detect it and how to avert it safely. Stay tuned.
How to Detect Throttling by Your Internet Provider?
It’s time to wear your X-ray glasses and get to the bottom of this mystery. If your connection is indeed proven to be throttled, only then you can call up your provider and give them a piece of your mind. This doesn’t require a special technical know-how. You can do these steps on your own too.
Perform an Internet Speed Test
One of the easiest ways to tell if your internet connection is being throttled (or not) is to run a speed test. You can find any basic speed test online. Two notable examples are fast.com and speedtest.net, which will give you the exact download speed and the upload speed that you are receiving from your ISP. To get the most accurate results, connect your PC or laptop on which you’re running the speed test to the router or modem via an Ethernet cable. Close all background programs and unnecessary apps.
Perform an Internet Speed Test with VPN Enabled
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network does the job of shielding your internet activities from your ISP. Some ISPs can know that you are running an internet speed test, and they may hold throttling while you do that to avoid detection. With a VPN, you will get the most realistic results of your internet speed situation.
Put your results from a regular speed test and a VPN-enabled speed test side by side and tally. If the download speed and upload speed is similar in both cases, then your ISP is not throttling your connection. Match the figures with the advertised speed in your plan to see how much you’re really receiving. If, however, the VPN-enabled test shows a faster speed, then you can safely assume that your ISP is throttling your connection.
How to Stop ISP Throttling?
Browsing on a VPN seems to be the best solution to enjoy faster speeds. Sign up for a reputable service like NordVPN and continue to stream your favorite show like before. Keep in mind that some streaming sites like Netflix require location information, and VPNs generally hide that. You can also implement other measures like monitoring your monthly data usage to avoid hitting your data cap. If data caps sound distasteful to you, then go ahead and sign up for a plan that offers unlimited bandwidth. Cable users usually have to suffer from peak usage hours, but if you shift to a fiber optic connection, then you might be able to skip throttling altogether.
The Final Word
ISP throttling is a legal though a frustrating practice since it stops your internet activities in their track. You can use the pointers mentioned in this post to see if your internet speed is being throttled by your ISP, and what are the steps you can take to avert the issue.
There is a movement for Slow Food (as opposed to fast food or just not savoring your meal) and Slow Travel is proving popular. Some things are best taken slow. But no one likes slower internet, especially if you are paying for high-speed, broadband internet service.
An internet speed test website is seen on a mobile device in this photo illustration on June 11, . [+] 2018 in Warsaw, Poland. With the American Federal Communications Commission having repealed law’s that protect consumers from companies themselves determining internet speeds, the so called net neutrality rules fears arise that the internet will more and more resembel cable TV where a handful of big companies dominate broadcasting. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Many internet users expect speeds will occasionally dip, due to any number of factors, but the act of intentionally slowing internet speeds, done by your actual internet service provider (ISP) seems almost criminal. In fact, some have argued and fought against recent Net Neutrality rules that allow your ISP to do just that — slow down your web use, also known as internet throttling.
Internet throttling has gotten so bad, that Netflix has been in a quiet war with the ISP world. They went so far as to create their own internet speed testing tool: Fast.com. Their goal is to help you understand if your internet speeds match what they have promised and for what you pay for each month. Netflix has been one of the sites penalized in this throttling game; It is not a game, however.
Step 1: Read Your Internet Contract – Know What Speed You Pay For
Step 2: Do An Internet Speed Test
Have you noticed these sorts of things when surfing:
- Very slow speeds while watching or trying to load YouTube videos
- Your video streaming through Netflix or Hulu or Google Play take forever to load or buffer constantly (meaning your video stops and seems to be loading the next portion)
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If you are having trouble with videos on YouTube or Netflix or even Spotify audio, you may want to start testing your internet speeds. Use the well-known Speedtest service (by Ookla). Is the tested speed close to your ISP’s promised internet speeds?
Step 3: Compare Your Internet Speed
After doing the first speed test, your benchmark, then use the Netflix speed test tool at Fast.com which is based, in part, on Netflix data (which helps sort if you have an ISP intentionally slowing down your connection) and compare.
Two Additional Ways To Check Your Internet Speed
Check out Wehe, a National Science Foundation project run out of Northeastern University in Boston. This massive research project did most of their publicly reported checks on mobile phone networks. Look up “Wehe” on Google Play or Apple App Store.
They also have a broadband testing tool at the Internet Health Test site (and you will also automatically contribute to a large scale computer science project) to help you see how data moves from your home (or office) through various servers and how quickly. It can give you an idea if ISPs are throttling your internet connection.
As the owner of YouTube, Google has a vested interest (understatement, much?) in making sure you get high quality YouTube videos and connections to those videos. They have a testing tool called the Google Video Quality Report which also does a terrific job of explaining how they move data around the world. After you open the site, there is a tab for a speed report for your area.
Step 4: Consider getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
I have been doing a special series for the Forbes Finds section and although I thought I knew a fair amount about internet security and protecting my data, I learned a ton. I have tested several VPNs and you can check out the start of the series: What Is A VPN? and How Does A VPN Work? More posts are coming, so I will try to update this post with links accordingly.
In a nutshell, a VPN can provide a secret tunnel between you and your destination sites like YouTube or Netflix so that your ISP cannot see where you are going. Not all VPNs are created equal, so do your research (or read my posts). It is also another way to comparison test your main internet connection.
I like the idea of Slow Food and Slow Travel as I said in the opening paragraph. But, I am definitely not a fan of slow internet, especially when I’m paying for high speed internet. I think you probably feel the same way. Use these tools and methods to keep tabs on your provider, keep abreast of Net Neutrality changes in your area, and do not settle for bad video speeds.
Back in February this year, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC as it is commonly known, passed a new set of rules on Net Neutrality that basically prevented ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from throttling connection speeds to certain services in order to charge their users (and the services in question) more for smooth access. While the ruling was passed and the ISPs are supposed to obey it, the million-dollar question is, are they actually doing it? With this in mind, Fight for the Future has coughed up a new tool called “The Internet Health Test” that allows you to see how your Internet connection is performing, and whether there is any throttling being done by your ISP or not.
The test, which is online and runs simply through your Web browser – we tested on Safari for OS X and Chrome – basically “checks your connection for signs of any degradation at all.” It does so by establishing connections to a number of interconnection points between different networks that are outside of your ISP’s domain, and then checks for consistency. If there is a high level of inconsistency between different connection nodes, chances are likely that your ISP is in violation of Net Neutrality, and some level of connection throttling is being done.
It’s worth noting that the February ruling of the FCC came after Comcast’s infamous throttling of Netflix streams for its customers, resulting in a deal between the two that raged the entire Internet over what Comcast had done.
The Internet Health Test is designed to use those interconnections that usually host popular content, such as those from Netflix, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer etc., and uses crowd-sourcing – data from hundreds of customers – to determine whether any violations are being done. In other words, if an ISP turns fine against most nodes, but has problems with a particular one, it’s likely that Net Neutrality is being violated.
This health test doesn’t give you much on its own, but when used in conjunction with results from other users, becomes a powerful tool for you to determine whether there is a legitimate violation that you can act against. If nothing, you’d at least get to see how consistent your Internet connection basically is.
Point your browser to battleforthenet.com/internethealthtest and see if your Internet connection is healthy or not.
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