First, there was dial-up and it already made a lot of people happy as it gave everyone an option to plug in and discover the weird and wonderful world of web. Even though each page was loading for a few good minutes, it still didn’t spoil the fun.
Today things are quite different. Most web users have 3-5 seconds attention spans. We abandon websites is those load more than 3 seconds. We abandon apps if they don’t open to fast or function to slow. And it seems like there’s nothing worse than a freezing Netflix movie stream these days.
Ok, so everyone wants fast (and cheap) Internet even without realizing how much of that speed they actually need in the first place.
If the page load time is a matter of life and death for you and your Internet is just too slow, here’s what you can try.
Wi-Fi usually goes as the primary choice for everyone – after all, you have a lot of gadgets to connect instantly – yet, it’s one of the slowest types of the Internet connections.
The Internet speed you receive can be compared to slower cable and DSL connections, yet it may go down if you:
- Share the connection with other users (not just in Starbucks, but with your neighbors and home to save some cash).
- The technology and protocols used by the transmitter aka the router.
- The gadgets position and your distance from it.
When it comes to technology, make sure you read all the specs carefully before buying your router. The top speed of the current wireless standard, 802.11ac, is 433 Mbps and up to several GB per second (as claimed). However, the new standard comes with some special requirements as well:
- It works exclusively on 5GHz band.
- It requires heaps of bandwidth (80 or 160 MHz)
When it comes to positioning your router at home for the optimal performance, Wired suggests the next basics:
- Don’t place it in the kitchen.
- Place it in the most central location possible.
- If you live in a house with thick brick or concrete walls, your Internet speed will always be slower (better move out and you’ll not just get faster Wi-Fi, but will be able to hear your neighbors too!).
- Toy with the router’s antenna for a better signal.
Now, for those of you who want to have top Internet speed for one device aka your PC or laptop, there are four more options:
- DSL – aka getting the Internet through the telephone lines (make sure you have one at your place)
- Satellite – expensive, but real fast. For the loners living in remote areas. Also, the subscription often comes with some bonus perks like discounted TV.
- Cable Internet – that’s what cable companies are now into. Usually, the packages are relatively affordable and come with some other perks like free modem, no data caps, bundled security apps staff alike. Charter Spectrum Internet claims to run twenty times faster than a DSL connection to give you a perspective.
- Fiber – heads up the fastest and most expensive type of Internet connection. Usually, data centers and high-tech companies go for it. However, fiber connections are also available at very remote locations – think Fiji – for the top bucks.
Here’s a cool interactive map from Tele Geography illustrating the fiber connections around the world:
Tired of paying too much for your connection? There are places in the world where you can pay less than $10/month for a no data cap, 10.5 Mbps Internet speed.
The current top-10 of the world’s fastest Internet speed nations includes:
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
Also, this Reddit user has created a great map to give you a global perspective:
As you can see the fast speed countries are not quite the cheapest ones in terms of overall living costs, but there are some exceptions :)
If you want more Internet speed here and now, you can try some of the following things:
Numerous Wi-Fi routers can share the same channel and slow down your connection if there’s a bunch of other peeps on it. Wifi Stumbler will scan all the available channels and help you pick the one with the least interferences and configure the network accordingly.
Your computer probably chose the DNS automatically, and it may not have been the best choice in terms of connectivity. Sometimes it’s worth searching manually for a better DNS server, which can result in faster Internet speed.
Namebench utility from Google helps you to find the optimal DNS server in range for your needs. Afterwards, head to your PCs settings and update the default option to the new one unless they match.
Apart from being actually harmful, Adware and spyware secretly eat up your bandwidth, hence making the web work slower. Run regular virus checks and clean up all the shady files regularly. Also, try not to download any suspicious files from suspicious places for starters.