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Slow broadband download speed

Posted on 2007-04-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-14
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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Question by:grandsire02
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 18883291
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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by:grandsire02
ID: 18884144
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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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 18884242
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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