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You deserve to be in the fast lane

Do you only take a speed test when you feel like your internet is getting slow? Test your internet speed often because even though you may not feel it, your internet might be underperforming. Your Internet Service Provider might have promised you 100 Mbps, but you may be getting only 80. The difference may seem minimal when you are just surfing the internet or even when you are streaming a movie, but you won’t be able to download large files in the blink of an eye, as you should.

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Pay only for what you need

Those extra bucks that you pay for a higher speed go to waste when you don’t get what you were promised. Similarly, you shouldn’t pay for a higher speed if you don’t need that. If your internet speed is way more than what you need, you should consider switching to a less expensive package and save every month.

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Get rid of bottlenecks

Your provider might be fulfilling their promise, but what if the fault is at your end? You might be getting 150 Mbps, but if your equipment is not up to the mark, you will never get great speed even if you are sitting in the same room as the router. It is also possible that someone has hacked into your Wi-Fi and is stealing your bandwidth by downloading large files.

Before you take the speed test

Disappointed with your result? Your result might not be accurate, not because there is something wrong with the speed test, but you might have overlooked a detail. Your result might be skewed if you randomly started the speed test without taking the necessary steps. Here is what you need to do before starting a speed test:

01

Restart your router and modem

Your router and modem perform various tasks simultaneously, which might slow them down. Just like your smartphones and laptops tend to hang when overloaded, symptoms of overworked routers and modems include slow browsing and streaming. Restarting will return them to their optimized status. Unplug your router and modem and wait for 30 seconds. Plug in your modem and then wait for 60 seconds before you plugin the router.

02

Disable VPN

You will not get accurate results if you are using VPN. Usually, there is a 5-6% speed reduction due to the encryption process that protects your data, but significant reduction in speed can also occur due to the geolocation of the server, the load on it, and ISP speed restrictions. Hence, it is important to switch off the VPN before conducting a speed test.

03

Stop all other activities

This is the most important thing you need to do before conducting a speed test. Stop any downloading or streaming in the background on the device you are using for testing. If more than one device are used in your household, make sure no one is using any for the duration of the speed test. Turn on the airplane mode on all smartphones, stop Netflix streaming on TV for a while, and then test your internet speed.

04

Turn off your security software

Your antivirus slows down your internet speed because it uses some of the bandwidth to update its virus definitions. However, this may not be the case always. Antiviruses also slow down your internet with built-in firewalls and VPN settings. If an antivirus firewall is running on top of the firewall that is built-into the operating system, it slows down your system considerably. A firewall is like a checkpoint that slows down moving traffic; imagine having two checkpoints at a time.

What Internet Speed do I Need?

30 Mbps

  • Web surfing, emails
  • Moderate video watching
  • Ideal for 1-2 devices

50 Mbps

  • 4K streaming
  • Online gaming
  • Ideal for 3-4 devices

100 Mbps

  • 4K streaming
  • Simultaneous gaming
  • Ideal for 6-7 devices including voice controlled home automation devices

200+ Mbps

  • 4K streaming
  • Simultaneous gaming
  • Simultaneous downloading of large files
  • Ideal for 8-10 devices including voice controlled home automation devices

What Determines Internet Connection Quality?

Internet Speed Internet speed refers to how fast data can travel from the World Wide Web to your device. Mbps is the unit employed to measure internet speed and depicts the number of bytes that travel to and from your device in one second.
Latency In simple terms, Latency means the delay that occurs when information travels from point A to B. Latency is measured in milliseconds; and depends upon your connection type, distances and network congestion.
Ping Ping is a signal that your device sends to the host over the internet to request a response. A Ping checks the host’s availability and also measures the response time.
Ping time Ping time is measured in milliseconds and refers to the round trip a signal makes to the host and back to the device. Ping time adds to the time it takes for the information to travel to and from the device hence it is an important metric, especially in gaming. This metric is directly affected by the physical distance between networked devices. For example, Ping time of a fast internet connection between Texas and Tokyo would be higher than the Ping time of a slow internet connection between Texas and New York. An excellent Ping time is less than 30 milliseconds. It is ideal for online gaming. A Ping response time between 50ms to 100ms is ok for web surfing, but not for online gaming. Anything greater than 500ms will create a noticeable delay and will affect your internet experience.
Packet loss A device sends and receives small packets of data to access internet. Some packets fail to reach the destination during this transaction. This causes slow internet and sometimes total loss of internet connectivity. There are a number of factors that can cause packet loss. The common ones are network congestion, software bugs, security issues, and outdated hardware or software including firewalls, routers and network switches.
Jitter Packets often face delays when they are being transferred over the internet. These delays are not always constant even if the packets are travelling through the same path. The difference in delay is termed as jitter. Jitters lead to network congestion and packet loss, which ultimately slows down internet speed.
Contention ratio Contention ratio basically refers to the number of people who are sharing the network at the same time. High contention ratio means a slower internet and the issue can be solved by subscribing to higher speeds.

What Your Speed Test Result Means

Now that you’ve learned the parameters which determine the quality of your internet connection, and you’ve performed a free internet speed test or a mobile speed test, you’ll want to know what your result means. Let’s take a look at whether you’re getting your money’s worth. If your results don’t fall within an acceptable range, you might want to check out the “What factors affect my internet speed?” and “Improve your internet speed” sections.

Let’s understand in-depth as to what your internet speed test download result means. Your download speed is a measure of the throughput of your internet connection. It determines how many units of information are being transmitted to your device in a specific amount of time. Data on computers is in binary language. At the core of Boolean logic rests the idea that all values are either true or false and when applied to computer functions the Boolean logic results in making only two integers i.e. 0 and 1, the sole basis on which the system runs.

The decimal, or base-10 system, can be converted to binary; it can be employed to control the circuits in your electronic devices and computers by instructing the electrical signal, which controls the semiconducting transistors (and there are approximately 1 billion of these transistors in a Core i7 microprocessor!), to turn electric current off (0) or on (1). Believe it or not, everything on your electronic devices, including your social media videos, mobile games, emails, and the rest, is just a bunch of binary digits controlling what’s happening on the screen, and all other functions of your device, really, really, fast.

A single binary value of 0 or 1 makes a bit . There are 8 bits in a byte. Due to the base-2 system, 28 gets you 256 possible decimal values. A byte is capable of displaying a character on your screen, for example the letter “j”. Essentially speaking, a byte is a standard of defining online data volume.

8 bits (b) Byte (B)

1024 bytes Kilobyte (KB)

1024 KB Megabyte (MB)

1024 MB Gigabyte (GB)

1024 GB Terabyte (TB)

It is important to remember the difference between a bit (b) and a byte (B). Internet plans are advertised in Mbps (Megabits per second) or Gbps (Gigabits per second). A 100 Mbps internet plan means your maximum download speed is 12.5 MBps (1 Mbps = 1/8 MBps).

So, a 3 GB file will take approximately 4 minutes to download on a 100 Mbps internet connection that is delivering maximum speed.

Converting 3 GB to MB, Maximum download speed in MBps (1/8 of 100 Mbps):

(3*1024)÷12.5 =245.76 seconds

Converting seconds to minutes:

245.76 seconds÷60=4.096 minutes

Hopefully now you have a good idea of what your download speed signifies with respect to how you use the internet every day.

But my internet speed test result shows slower download speed than I am subscribed to!

According to Federal Communications Commission research, the best internet service providers in the United States deliver at least 90% of the advertised speed at least during 80% of peak time usage. So, if your speed test result during the evening hours isn’t close to your advertised speed, you should refer to the “Improve Your Internet Speed” section.

Your internet connection’s upload speed is the amount of data in megabits that it can send in one second. Most residential users of broadband internet use the downlink of their internet connection far more than the uplink.

Before we get to what type of data is uploaded when you use the internet, let’s briefly discuss how data is uploaded over the internet. The World Wide Web is based on Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Model. It has 7 layers:

  • Physical: Coaxial cables, fiber, wireless, hubs, repeaters
  • Data Link: Determines the type of data on the network
  • Network Layer: Determines the physical path of the data on the network
  • Transport Layer: Carries out the movement of data in packets. There’re two types of transfers - Transmission Control Protocol (checks for errors in transmission), and User Datagram Protocol (no transmission error check)
  • Session Layer: Controls the communication endpoints, called ports. Also controls when communication starts and ends.
  • Presentation Layer: Ensures data readability, data decryption/encryption takes place.
  • Application Layer: The human-computer interaction layer. For example, Domain Name Service (the URLs you type).

Each time you are browsing online or using an app, generally there is some user data collected to enhance your experience and deliver relevant content. Let’s discuss what data is commonly uploaded during browsing or using apps:

IP Address: An internet protocol address is assigned to each device connected to the internet. It is a numerical number which is like a physical address of a house which helps the courier services deliver packages. Similarly, you upload your IP address to websites and applications. It is in the network layer of the protocol. It determines which device a particular data packet should be sent to.

Operating System: To deliver the most optimized online experience, websites will ask your browser for information about the operating system you’re using: Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. Mobile browsers let websites know whether you’re using Android, iOS, or another operating system.

Cookies: These are tiny files which contain information about your browsing activity and help customize your online experience. Your login/password details may be saved in Cookies. A transient Cookie exists only for the duration of your session and is erased after you are inactive for a while or close the browser. On the other hand, persistent Cookies are used to upload information which is personally identifiable.

These uploads require hardly any data transfer, due to the small size of the data transferred. This is why most residential high-speed internet users don’t require upload speeds as high as the download speed. However, some applications of the internet do require a large amount of data transfer:

  • HD video uploads
  • High resolution picture uploads
  • Database software
  • Graphics software
  • Online gaming

There may be other types of uploads too, which are bandwidth intensive.

Finally, your upload speed is affected by whether or not your download and upload speeds are the same.

Symmetric internet connection: This is an internet connection which furnishes equal download and upload speeds. For example, 50 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload. This type of an internet connection is usually built on fiber optic lines.

Asymmetric internet connection: This is the more common type of internet connection. The download speed is more than the upload speed (very rarely it’s the other way around). Most internet service providers in the US offer asymmetric internet connections. An example is a 30 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload internet connection.

An accurate internet speed test will help you determine your upload speed to a tee.

As we mentioned earlier on, Ping is a technique used to test whether any particular host of data, with which you want to communicate, is reachable. Ping time, measured in milliseconds, determines the quality of your internet connection. The lower the Ping time, the better.

If the Ping time result obtained through your internet speed test is less than 50 ms (milliseconds), that’s brilliant and you should be thankful for an excellent connection. A Ping time of less than 100 ms is also good; around 150 ms or above is however not good enough, and you might experience problems during gaming, live streaming, and even video calls. The further away the internet speed test server is from you, the higher you should expect your Ping time to be. It’s therefore good to test your internet speed via different server locations because during the course of everyday internet usage, your content will be delivered from servers located all over the world.

If you perform a 4G speed test from your mobile phone, you should expect a Ping time of under 50 ms on your LTE enabled device using your carrier’s data connection.

download

Why is upload speed lower than download speed?

As we said earlier, you will mostly see upload speeds are way lower than download speeds. This is not because there is an issue with your connection and it does not imply you should consider switching your internet service provider. Rather, this asymmetry is important since downloading is far more significant from the viewpoint of consumption than uploading. People spend much more time downloading from the internet whether it is via simple surfing of the web, downloading media, or streaming movies than they do on uploading files.

All sorts of connections need to be divided into different streams for upload and download. It is better to give importance to download rather than upload since there is a limit to how much can be packed into each stream. During peak times, while all download streams are jam packed, upload streams are fairly open. Hence, it makes sense that download to upload speed ratio should be two-to-one.

bandwidth

Bandwidth and Speed are not the same

Bandwidth and internet speed are the two most common terms that are used to describe the quality of an internet connection. These terms are often confused with each other, but they refer to completely different things. To understand speed and bandwidth, imagine that you are on a highway with a speed limit of 100 km/h; this is the maximum speed you can travel at. However, this will not be true at all times, depending upon traffic. If the highway is jam packed, then you will not be able to travel at the maximum speed no matter what.

Bandwidth refers to the traffic on the highway while the internet speed is the maximum speed you are allowed to travel at. Hence, bandwidth is affected by the number of devices connected to your internet. The higher the number of connected devices, the lower the speed you will get. When many devices are connected to the internet, you are likely to experience slow internet speed as you download e.g. buffering, especially at peak times.

Your ISP allocates a bandwidth to you, but that bandwidth is shared by everyone around you who is using the same ISP, and this is what leads to slowdowns. ISPs usually limit bandwidth during peak hours to avoid any congestion in the network.

How Do Speed Tests Work?

Speed tests do give you an interesting picture of the performance of your internet. The interesting part, however, is that how these metrics are calculated. As soon as you start the speed test, your device sends a signal to a nearby test server. Once it has located the test server, it sends a signal to the server, which then gives a response. This entire signal trip (Ping time) is calculated in milliseconds.

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Once the Ping test is complete, the client starts a download test. To calculate your download speed, the client opens connections to the server and tries to download chunks of data. The client then calculates the speed of these transfers and adjusts the chunks to optimize the network connection. At this point in time, it checks two things: how much time it took for the chunk to download and how many network resources were used.

If the client feels there is more room, it will open up more connections to the server and download more data. This is done to check the maximum performance of your internet. Once the correct number of connections is established with the server, the client again downloads chunks of data and re-calculates how many chunks were downloaded in a given time before presenting you with the download speed.

After the download speed, the client moves on to calculate the upload speed. The upload speed test process is similar to the download speed test, only that it moves in the reverse direction. The client opens up connections to the server and then uploads chunks of data on to the server. If there is scope, it establishes more connections to upload more data. Once the test ends, you get the volume of data uploaded in a particular amount of time.

What Internet Speed do you need?

So you prepared all the snacks and you are all set to binge-watch your favorite series, but then it starts buffering and kills your entire mood and ruins your weekend. Sounds like a bummer, right? It happens every now and then so you decide to switch to a higher package with greater speeds, but the problem persists because many devices are connected to the network at your home.

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You can now either continue with your trial and error process to determine the right speed or you can use our internet tool to find out the optimum internet speed you need.

Our tool will ask you a few questions such as how many devices are used simultaneously at your place, what these devices are mostly used for, e.g. web surfing, online gaming, streaming etc. Once you have answered all the questions, it will show you the speed at which all of your devices will work at their best.

Internet Speed Requirements of Applications

Want to know how much internet speed is recommended for your favorite applications and games? Here we’ve collected information on internet speed required by various apps. The internet speed requirement for applications is not that high because the popular ones have optimized content delivery networks.

This bandwidth recommendation table is for one user, if you have multiple users on the same internet connection, you will need to add to the internet speed accordingly.

Application Optimum Speed Functionality Using Bandwidth
Gmail 2 Mbps Attachments
Facebook 5 Mbps Videos, HD uploads, Live
Twitter 5 Mbps Pictures, Videos
Spotify / Apple Music 5 Mbps Audio streaming
Instagram 10 Mbps Pictures, Videos, Live
Pinterest 10 Mbps Pictures
Snapchat 15 Mbps Stories
YouTube 15 Mbps 720p or higher resolution videos
Netflix 25 Mbps UHD videos
Gaming: Xbox One X / Sony Playstation 4 pro, mobile etc. 25 Mbps Real time communication with servers
Virtual Home Assistants 25 Mbps Cloud video storage, Sensor alerts, Remote control

Internet Speed Test Results by Provider

It is logical to wonder about the internet speed test results of major U.S. providers. Which one performs better? What’s the average download speed furnished by your current provider or the one you’re considering switching to? Here we’ve aggregated speed test results data from users who performed tests on our site, as well as from other sources. Keep in mind this comparison is for an advertised speed of 100 Mbps.

Check out the list*.

Provider Average Download Speed No. of Speed Tests Performed
Spectrum 97.3 Mbps 3341
Xfinity 95.7 Mbps 2812
Cox 93.5 Mbps 3109
Mediacom 91.3 Mbps 1178
Windstream 89.2 Mbps 2145
CenturyLink 87.9 Mbps 764
Frontier 85.5 Mbps 943
* List updated monthly.

Keep in mind these are average speeds from across the country. A provider with a lower average in the table above may deliver better download speed in your zip code than a provider with a higher average. But overall, you can expect this table to be an accurate reflection of the current capabilities of each provider.

How Accurate are Speed Test Results?

While speed test results do give you a picture of how your internet connection may be performing, the results might differ from reality, which means you might not always experience the internet speed that your speed test result shows. There are various factors that affect the accuracy of the speed test result, the most important being these results are just a simulation and in reality your traffic differs because multiple devices may be in use at once.

Other than that, the result also depends upon the location of the test server. If the test server chosen is quite close, that is in the same city, your test result might come near to perfect. However, in reality data often has to travel longer distances. This is why Netflix uses a content delivery network to bring data closer to you and enhance the streaming experience.

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If you recall the entire speed test process, then in stage two of the test, the client tries to establish the maximum number of connections possible with the server in order to determine the maximum speed. If in case you are running anything in the background such as a game or a streaming service, then your results will not reflect the true picture.

The device you are conducting the test on and the type of connection you have also plays an important role. If you are running the test on Ethernet PC, then you will get a better result than on Wi-Fi because Wi-Fi is generally slower than Ethernet. The device you are using also affects the result. If you are using your latest phone to conduct the test, you will get a better result.

How to Get More Accurate Results?

There are certain things that you can do in order to get a better and more accurate result. If you are conducting the test over Wi-Fi, then the placement of your router will play an important role. Make sure you have a clear path to the router since certain walls can block the signals. Ideally, your device should be in the same room as the router.

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Another issue might be that you are testing from a very slow device. Modern network cards can detect speeds up to 100 Mbps, while older cards are only limited to 1 Mbps to 10 Mbps. To remedy this issue, you need to conduct the test from multiple devices. The average of all the speeds that you get from these results will be the accurate speed.

The accuracy of your speed test also depends upon the internal and external traffic on your internet connection. While you can control the internal traffic by stopping all the activities on other devices, the external traffic is something which is not in your hand. Hence, conduct an internet speed test at different times during the day. Avoid peak times, usually in the evening when everyone is logged on to the internet.

What factors affect my internet speed?

Slow loading websites and buffering can be quite frustrating and experiencing slow internet is a common complaint these days. However, it is not always your ISP that is at fault, sometimes there are other easily rectifiable factors at your end that pull down your internet speed.

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Type of connection

The type of connection you are using plays a huge role in the speed that you can get. A hard-wired connection is always better than Wi-Fi and will always give you better speeds. Wi-Fi speeds have increased, no doubt. However, a cable can bring you speeds up to 10 Gbps, if you have Cat 6 cable.

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Hardware

Another reason why you might not be getting your desired speed is the device you are using is old and doesn’t have enough capacity to get high speed. Laptops, mobiles or tablets with older processors cannot support higher speeds.

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Router

Just like your devices, the tenure of your router also matters. If your router is 3 to 4 years old, then it cannot create faster networks to give you higher speeds. The latest routers have 802.11 Wi-Fi standards and can easily keep up with higher speeds.

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Viruses

If you have not taken the necessary precaution of installing antivirus in your computer, then it is likely that a virus gets to your computer and starts hogging all the internet speed.

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Network traffic

This is the most common cause that can slow down your internet speed. When a large number of users log on to the internet at once, it increases traffic and thus slows you down. This usually happens during peak hours.

How Can I Improve My Internet Speed?

Now that you are aware of the factors that are slowing you down, there are certain steps that you can take to remedy the situation:

Reboot your Wireless Gateway or router

Just like your other devices that update themselves, your router also updates itself. Unplug your router, wait for 20-30 seconds and then plug it back. This way you will ensure your equipment is always updated and performing at its optimum.

Clear your router area

Make sure there are no distractions in the way of your router. Keep it in an open area so that no hindrance is confronted by the signal. Water or metallic items can reduce internet speed, so put your router away from your aquarium or a metallic object.

Get a range extender

If you cannot do anything about the location of your Wi-Fi, then get a range extender. These are basically signal copiers that you can place between your router and device to strengthen the signal.

Connect your devices with cable

Data-hungry apps or devices steal your Wi-Fi speed and slow you down. For the best performance of your device such as TV or your gaming consoles, connect them directly with Ethernet cable.

Clear your browser cache

When you visit a website, your browser collects and stores some bits of information to help the website load faster the next time you visit it. This information is also shared with marketers, who then send you relevant ads. All this accumulated data slows you down. So make it a habit to clear your browser cache regularly.

DSL

DSL or Digital Subscriber Line is the one that uses a 2-wire copper telephone line to bring internet connectivity to you. It doesn’t hinder your phone calls and is faster than dial up connections.

Data is transferred through a router. DSL is widely available because it utilizes existing phone lines. Also, it costs less than other connections such as satellite and cable. However, it is distance-sensitive.

There are two types of DSL connections: symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical DSL supports same speeds for both upload and download while asymmetrical supports higher speeds for download and lower for upload.

Average speed range: 5-35 Mbps

Satellite

Satellite internet connection as the name suggests is a wireless internet service that uses three satellite dishes to provide internet to a user. One satellite dish is at the internet service provider’s location, the second in space and the third at a user’s home.

Whenever you access the internet, the internet service provider sends a signal to the satellite in space, which then sends the signal to you.

Satellite connection makes sense when other modes of internet connectivity are not available in an area and you have to rely on dial up.

Satellite connections also support high bandwidths so you don’t have to worry about peak times.

Average Speed range: 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps

Cable

Unlike DSL that uses phone cables to transmit data, cable internet uses TV cables to transfer volumes of data. The cable signal reaches a user through a cable modem, a small box that is placed inside a users’ home or office.

A coaxial cable is connected with an active TV cable outside the subscriber’s house. It is then followed inside the house and connected to the modem.

Cable internet is almost 10 times faster than a dial up or DSL connection. Hence, it is better for data-heavy activities such as online streaming and games.

It is however, not faster than fiber optic and the speed also depends upon how many people are connected at one time.

Speed range: 10 Mbps to 500 Mbps

Fiber

Fiber internet connection transfers data completely or partially through fiber optic cables.

Fiber optic cables are basically tiny shards of glass, about the width of human hair that are joined together to form cables.

Fiber optic cables transfer data at the fastest rate possible since the transfer occurs through them in the form of light instead of electricity.

Hence, Fiber connections can work at 1Gbps i.e. 100 times faster than the traditional copper wires.

Fiber is also better than copper wires because Fiber spans up to 25 miles without any negative impact on speed. Also, these cables are not prone to electrical interference. The only drawback is that Fiber is not widely available yet.

Speed range: 250 Mbps to 1000 Mbps

Best Hardware Equipment for High Internet Speed

Your internet speed depends a lot on the quality and capabilities of the hardware you are using to connect to the internet. You have the option to either get these devices from your internet service provider – in which case you might pay a rental fee – or you may buy your own devices, if your ISP allows you to do that.

Let’s discuss the two types of devices you need to make a decision on, to ensure your internet connection runs at a high speed.

Modem

A modem is a device critical to your internet experience. Without it, you cannot get online at all. The data is transmitted between computers or other connected devices using coaxial cables or fiber optics. The modem’s job is to “modulate”, or put your digital internet data on top of an analog “carrier signal”, and send it on its way through the transmission medium.

At the receiving end, “demodulation” takes place, which is the removal of the carrier signal and conversion back to digital information, in its original form.

The make and model of your modem device should be compatible with the maximum download speed of your internet plan. Let’s take a look at a few modem devices which are considered top quality, and are popular in the U.S.

Manufacturer Device Max Speed Features DOCSIS® Version Provider Compatibility Voice Compatible In-built Router
TP-LINK Archer CR500 Up to 300 Mbps 4 internal antennas, Dual Band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), IPv6 and IPv4 dual stack, Parental control and more 3.0 Spectrum, Xfinity, Cox and more
NETGEAR C3000 Up to 100 Mbps DLNA, Parental controls, Guest Network Access, Push ‘N’ Connect, AirPrint and more 3.0 Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, Cablevision and more
ARRIS SB8200 Up to 1 Gbps 4k HD, 2-Gigabit home networks, 32 download channels, 8 upload channels, VR gaming compatible, Link aggregation 3.1 Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox
Motorola MG7700 Up to 600 Mbps Wi-Fi power boost, Beamforming, Firewall security and more 3.0 Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox
NETGEAR CM400 Up to 150 Mbps IPV6 compatible, 8MB flash memory and 64 MB DDR, 8 download channels, 4 upload channels 3.0 Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox and more

Router

Let’s be realistic. We don’t really plug in an Ethernet cable from our modem to our computers or devices to connect to the internet anymore. It’s just a hassle, even though doing so usually facilitates better internet speed test results.

Wireless routers are an essential piece of hardware for residential internet users. The function of a router is to analyze data packets and direct them towards their rightful destination. Router is also the device which enables Wi-Fi access for your household devices.

That’s why, you can’t underestimate the importance of a good router as far as discovering the true potential of your internet connection. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best routers you can choose from to boost your broadband speed test result.

Manufacturer Model Maximum Download Speed Features In-Built Modem
NETGEAR R6300 Up to 450 Mbps Dual Core 800 MHz processor, USB 3.0 port, Beamforming+, WPA2 Security
ASUS CM-32 AC2600 Up to 800 Mbps AiRadar Beamforming, Multi-user MIMO, Guest Network and more
LINKSYS AC1200 Up to 300 Mbps 1000 Sq. Ft. Wi-Fi coverage, use 10+ devices simultaneously, Dual bands, and more
TP-LINK AC1750 Up to 450 Mbps 3 external antennas, Alexa compatible, 4k streaming, 50+ simultaneous devices, 2-year free support and more
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR 500 Up to 1 Gbps 1.7 GHz dual core processor, Advanced Quality of Service, Geo Filtering, Connect with secure VPN Gaming Servers, and more

Latest Vs Old Technology

Broadband

Broadband is a common term used for internet access.

Broadband basically means your internet is always connected and does not depend on your phone line.

There are basically four types of broadband connections:

  • DSL
  • Cable
  • Satellite
  • Fiber optic

LTE

LTE stands for long-term evolution and refers to the standard of wireless data transmission. LTE is a replacement of older technologies such as WiMAX and 3G. It allows you to access the internet at faster speeds than 3G ever could.

LTE is a considerable upgrade over previous technologies as it uses radio waves instead of microwaves. This allows LTE to be available in remote areas as well.

5G

5G or the fifth generation of network technology is a considerable upgrade over 4G; it is smarter and faster than what we have ever experienced before. 5G is expected to be 100 times faster than 4G with speeds eventually reaching 10 Gbps.

What sets 5G apart from older technologies is that it will increase network capacity by entering into the millimeter wave spectrum. Moreover, it will also significantly reduce latency providing consistently high speeds.

The Journey from 1G to 5G

1970-1980s 1G technology is prevalent with speeds up to 2Kbps. Supported only analog phone calls.
1990-2004 2G technology is developed, which supports digital phone calling, SMS and data speeds up to 64 Kbps.
2004-2010 3G technology makes its debut and becomes prevalent. Gives better internet experience with internet speeds up to 2 Mbps.
Present 4G technology beats 3G and 2G by supporting speeds up to 1 Gbps and reducing latency.
Present-Future 5G technology is expected to change the entire landscape by providing unprecedented speeds and latency.

Troubleshoot Internet Connectivity Issues

None of your devices can connect to the internet

If all the lights are lit on your router and you still cannot connect any of your devices with the router, then plug in your laptop or any other device directly into the router through an Ethernet cable. If internet connectivity becomes functional on your laptop, this means there might be an issue with your Wi-Fi. In case it doesn’t, try restarting your router to fix this issue. If still no success, contact your internet service provider because the issue is from that end.

One device cannot connect to Wi-Fi

If only one device cannot connect to the Wi-Fi, chances are it is a temporary problem and will fix in a while. You can turn on the airplane mode on your device and then switch it off and it might connect to Wi-Fi. If that doesn’t help, forget the network on your device and connect to the internet from scratch. Try restarting your router, as that might remedy the issue.

There is no internet access

All your devices can connect, but still there is no internet connection, the most obvious issue appears to be a power outage and you should contact your internet service provider. It is however recommended to reset your modem and router by unplugging before you contact .

Cannot connect to the network with correct password

Sometimes you are not able to connect to the internet even though you have the right password. This usually happens when the network is malfunctioning or is congested because too many devices are connected to it. Close down Wi-Fi in some devices or reset the router.

The internet is way slower than usual

If your internet usually works well, but is slow at some times, then it is likely that some program or someone is hogging down your internet. To remedy this situation on Windows, open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc and then go to the Network Column and check Network usage. For Apple, press Command+Space to open Spotlight, type "Activity Monitor," and then go to the Network tab.

Device is connected to the internet but is not working properly

If your network is working properly, but only one device is not performing well, then you know there is a chance that device is facing an IP address conflict. This happens when two devices have the same IP address on a network. If this is the case, you need to release and renew your IP address.

Internet keeps connecting and disconnecting

If you keep losing connectivity, it is possible the network card on your device is facing issues. If you can, remove the network card from its slot and insert it back in. If this doesn’t solve the issue, then delete the network card from your computer and reinstall it. Connectivity issues are also caused due to corrupt Windows or a virus attack.

Router keeps crashing

If your router keeps stopping every now and then, restore it to its factory settings by holding down the ‘reset’ button for 30 seconds with a paperclip and then release it. If that doesn’t help, your router may have expired.

It would be interesting to look at how internet speed varies by the state. The chart below shows the average download speeds in each state plus Washington, D.C. The table is sorted from the fastest speed to the lowest.

You can see from the data 4 out of the top 5 states are on the East Coast.

Where does your state rank in terms of internet speed test results?

Rank State / Area Download Speed
1 New Jersey 121.45
2 Massachusetts 117.64
3 Maryland 117.59
4 Delaware 114.66
5 Hawaii 114.23
6 District of Columbia 109.98
7 Nevada 109.21
8 Texas 106.98
9 Washington 106.65
10 Rhode Island 105.79
11 New York 105.23
12 North Carolina 104.87
13 Utah 104.78
14 Colorado 104.63
15 Virginia 104.61
16 Arizona 102.09
17 California 101.00
18 Tennessee 100.13
19 New Hampshire 99.81
20 Kansas 99.34
21 North Dakota 97.27
22 Pennsylvania 97.25
23 Missouri 94.64
24 Connecticut 93.68
25 Georgia 93.51
26 Florida 91.44
27 Louisiana 91.02
28 Oregon 90.96
29 Nebraska 88.74
30 Illinois 86.88
31 West Virginia 86.32
32 South Dakota 82.65
33 Alaska 80.91
34 Wisconsin 80.09
35 Indiana 79.41
36 South Carolina 79.23
37 Oklahoma 79.06
38 Minnesota 77.42
39 Michigan 76.46
40 Kentucky 75.95
41 Ohio 74.7
42 Alabama 73.25
43 New Mexico 72.28
44 Iowa 71.39
45 Arkansas 69.92
46 Mississippi 68.66
47 Vermont 60.85
48 Idaho 56.82
49 Montana 55.46
50 Wyoming 51.34
51 Maine 50.64
Data Source: Ookla This data is accurate up to 2019.

U.S. Broadband Plan

The U.S. government launched a National Broadband Plan to ensure every American has access to broadband capability. The aim of the plan is to make high speed internet affordable, reliable, and widespread. This is linked to the nation’s economic prosperity and security. The ultimate goal to be achieved by the end of 2020 is to have 100 million homes using download speeds of at least 100 Mbps- and 50 Mbps actual upload speeds.

How successful has Congress been in ensuring internet service providers improve their infrastructure, technologies, and pricing in order to enable Americans to have the best possible internet connectivity?

If you are not satisfied with the state of the internet services in your zip code, do contact your Member of Congress and ask them as to what has been done in your county to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan.

About BuyTVInternetPhone Internet Speed Test

To perform the BuyTVInternetPhone speed test, you are likely to be connected to the closest server. The test aims to connect you to the most optimized server for the most accurate, unbiased internet speed test result in terms of download, upload, and Ping time.

During this speed test, up to 100 MB of data may be consumed, download and upload included. If your internet connection has a monthly data cap, keep this in mind before performing repeated speed tests.

While you perform the test, we may collect some non-personally identifiable information such as IP address, city and your internet service provider.