Does your ISP deliver the speed you pay for? It’s rather easy to test your broadband internet speed. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, ISPs usually promise an “up to” speed, so you can’t expect top performance at all times, that’s part of the deal. During high traffic times your ISP will suffer from high loads and will certainly not be able to deliver the maximum speed. Thus you’d best perform different speed tests at different time points, to see whether you ever reach the top speed. Also, when running a speed test, make sure no other applications are using the internet, else the result will not be accurate.
Speedtest.net is a good place to test your internet speed. They operate through servers all over the world, so you can connect to a server near you, which increases the accuracy of your result.
As you may realize, your internet speed does not only depend on your ISP, it also depends on the hardware and software used on your end of the line. If you are using hardware provided by your ISP, there shouldn’t be a problem. The bottleneck for speed often sits in the connecting computer.
Here are a few tips to Increase the Speed of Your Internet Connection
(1) Connecting Port
This may seem obvious, but you should connect to the internet though an ethernet port, rather than a serial, parallel or USB port. If ethernet is not an option, it may be advisable to update your hardware.
(2) Enough RAM
Make sure your system memory can handle the load! If you want to browse fast, you will need to close other applications in case your RAM is maxed out.
(3) Fast Browser
Mozilla based browsers generally are among the fastest browsers, while still being comfortable to use. Whichever open source browser you pick, make sure you don’t overload it with extensions or addons, those will just slow your browser down dramatically. On the other hand, if speed and RAM are not an issue, go for the luxury!
Also there are a number of tweaks and addons to increase the speed of your browser.
(4) Increase Speed under Windows XP Pro
Windows XP Professional reserves 20% of your bandwidth for services like updates or spyware checks. If you would like to exploit this reserve, do the following:
1. Click [Windows] + [R] and type gpedit.msc in the Run window.
2. Under Computer Configuration expand the Administrative Templates.
3. Go to Network and click the QoS Packet Scheduler tab.
4. Double-click on Limit Reservable Bandwidth and enable it.
5. Finally change the Bandwidth limit to 0% and click Apply.
6. Reboot your computer and enjoy.
(5) Tweak Tools
There are a number of programs that promise to increase your internet speed. They may work, they may not. They all apply a number of changes to optimize your network settings. Whether or not they will really improve your internet speed or which one will work the best for you greatly depends on your system, hence it’s difficult to recommend an application.
For further reading I will refer you to a set of articles found on About.com. Start with DSL and Cable Broadband Speed Tweaks and work your way through the links at the bottom.
Which tools and tweaks worked best for you?