In this interconnected world, nothing is more frustrating that networking issues.
We rely on our internet connection to do just about everything including check email, send images & video, pay bills, surf the web, shop, listen to music, watch Youtube, Netflix binge, game, and so on. Without a solid network, these essential activities are either very frustrating or simply even possible.
Fortunately for text emailers, it doesnt take much bandwidth to get a message sent. However, as soon as you begin to talk about images and video, network robustness begins to be critical.
We have all seen the results at one time or another of an unhealthy connection: long send times, time outs, slow loading web pages, jittery video, buffering......., video artifacts, audio syncing issues and frustrations.
So, how do you assess a network robustness?
1) Check your speed. US homes average around 10.7 Mbps download speeds. To see how you compare, just run an interenet speed test
This type of tool will give you a number for your download and upload speed. Upload speeds tend to be much lower than the download speed. This is expected. Download speeds are for most activities, such as watching movies, downloading images or videos, checking sites, etc. Upload speed is used when you upload a video, image or transfer files to another computer.
2) Next look at your bill and make sure you are getting the speeds you paid for. DSL and fios should offer consistent speeds. Cable speeds can vary depending on how many people are on it and at what time, so bookmark your speed test site and run it whenever you want to know what your speeds are.
3) Connectivity matters. Wired is always faster than wireless, as well as more stable. If you want to do a high bandwidth activity such as listen to music, watch videos, some business applications, or play games, try to do it on a wired connection. If you only can only use a wifi connection, make sure you are close to the router. Wifi speeds get slowers and less reliable further away. Many modern routers have a 5Ghz and a 2.4ghz frequency. When using wifi close to the router, use the 5ghz. 5Ghz are ment for close range multimedia use. The 2.4ghz frequency is for longer range signals, but is not as fast.
4) Check your requirements. This is most critical for some network based business applications, Video sites (youtube, netflix, vimeo), and gaming sites. The specific program may need special ports on your router to be open in order to communicate correctly. Since each program and router are a little different, please check th programs network communication requirements and router manual for how to open ports.
3) Video and gaming sites may receive enough connection speed from your ISP, but how is your ping? A ping test will assess the steadiness of your network communications.
DSLreports Ping Test is a tool that will communicate to multiple servers all over the world and grade your connecting stability from A+ to F.
4) Computer resources and graphics card
Another factor in slow internet responsiveness is your computer. If your do not have sufficient resource capability (memory, cpu, bus speed, hard drive speed, graphics card), you will experience slow down, even if your network is Herculean.
So, information is the key. Having ways to assess each component of the system allows you to assess and maintain the health of your computer system, internal network and router, ISP, and network based program.
These are some basic approaches to assessing and solving some network issues. Do you have other ways of assessing your network issues? If so, please feel free to comment and share.