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Slow broadband download speed

I’m having problems with my Internet connection speed. Using InternetFrog, my download speed is around 800 kbps, whilst my ISP, AOL, has advised me that my connection is actually enabled for 2 mbps. When I queried the discrepancy with AOL I did a system check for them and they advised me to reduce my memory load (currently about 78%) either by removing unwanted software or by increasing my memory (currently 512 MB) so that the memory load is reduced to under 50%. They said I will then get a much better download speed.  Have AOL given me the complete picture, and if so what is the best way to set about identifying and removing memory-sapping software? Incidentally I’ve already cleared out temporary internet files and cookies.
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grandsire02
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grandsire02
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2 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I really doubt that is your problem.  I also doubt the accuracy of those speed tests.  I use BroadbandReports.com's Tools which has speed tests for all over the country - and when I do a local server, I get roughly 1280 Kb on my DSL line and 675 up.  But when I do a server across the country, 3000 miles away, me speeds are roughly 15 and 30% slower respectively.  Frankly, I don't use these tools for a reliable reading... I use tools that measure actual data in and out of my systems - something like Performance Monitor (aka System Monitor) to monitor the NIC.  Further, I know these results are suspect because you don't know what kind of traffic or connections exists between you and your destination.  When I test, I run a tool like performance monitor and visit several websites.
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grandsire02Author Commented:
I looked up BroadbandReports.com, but it only seems to cover the USA (I live in the UK). I did also look at Performance Monitor but it is a bit beyond my capabilities (not to mention my pocket!). I did however find a programme called DU Meter that provides a real time measurement of PC download/upload speeds.  I tried a couple of sites, downloading some video content, and DU gave a reading of between 200 and 240 kbps. I realise it is helpful to have an accurate measurements, but assuming I do have a problem what is it and what do I do about it - or might there not be a problem at all? I'm not clear where leew's advice is leading me.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Basically, I saying don't trust the speeds internet measuring sites give you - they are not accurate.

You need to be clear - are you getting 200-240 Kbps or 200-240 KBps.  There's a BIG difference.  Try downloading a few copies of linux ISO images and other large files like OpenOffice.org at the same time.  If you are expecting 2 Mb, then 200-240 KB is roughly what you should be expecting when you factor in overhead.  1 Byte (B) = 8 bits (b).  So 240 KBps = 1.92 Mb - VERY close to your supposed speed.
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