IT support 101: How do internet speeds work?

If you have ever wondered why internet is so speedy in places like serviced offices, yet much slower in your homes, you're not alone. Internet speeds vary everywhere, and the factors contributing to these speeds can vary.

Let's talk about how internet speeds actually work. Internet speeds work by relying on ISPs (internet service providers), router strength, and connection types, let's discuss these:

Download and upload speeds

IT support 101: How do internet speeds work?

Realistic internet speeds can be measured based on the upload and download speeds. Downloads are when you add a file onto your device from the internet, while uploads happen when you place a file from your device, onto the internet. Download speeds are almost always faster than upload speeds, this is because the average internet user downloads more data and files than they upload, hence a faster speed is given due to greater overall demand.

Download speeds are set at a minimum of 768 kbps (Kilo-bit per second), while upload speeds are capped at the bottom at 200 kbps. This is theoretically a speed that will work for surfing the internet, however it will be extremely slow, and the modern day user would quickly lose their patience. A good download and upload speed is said to be at least 25 mbps (download) and 3 mbps (upload) - Mbps stands for megabit per second, and a megabit is 1024 times faster than a kilobit. These speeds are defined as how much data your provider can transmit to you within a second.

Internet service providers

Everyone with a wired router internet connection has an internet service provider. Your speeds will have a minimum threshold that your provider guarantees, and speeds can vary based on your location, how far you are from the provider's cabinet or data centre, and the type of router you opt for.

IT support 101: How do internet speeds work?

ISPs offer routers with speeds like 1 Gbps, or 100 mbps etc. Unless you use all of your internet devices via ethernet, you won't achieve these speeds. These speeds are advertised as being so high as it is the only accurate way to tell the difference between the capabilities of certain routers. That's why 1 Gbps routers only show up with download speeds of 100-300 mbps, because your

devices are most likely running off that connection wirelessly.

Internet speeds vary with device position

Depending on where you are using your device, its signal can be strong or weak. WIFI signals from wireless routers only go so far before they begin to weaken. If you're not in the same room as the router, or are a good 10-20 metres away, it is not uncommon to see download and upload speeds around half of what you might get when closer to the router (i.e within 6-8 feet).

IT support 101: How do internet speeds work?

Overall, internet speeds work by running off a mixture of router power, how close the device is to the router,& the location of ISPs. If your speeds are weaker, either connect by ethernet, or position your router closer to where you are using your device, or just upgrade your router!

Thank you for reading 'IT support 101: How do internet speeds work?' by IT Block. IT Block is an IT support services provider based in Singapore and we love sharing our IT expertise with the world.

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