Internet connection speeds are affected by many factors. This information is intended to help you understand the complexities behind the Internet speeds you receive (from TDS® or otherwise).
Internet speed refers to the amount of bandwidth you buy from TDS. Speed is measured in bits per second––Kilobits (Kbps), Megabits (Mbps) and Gigabits (Gbps). The more bandwidth you have, the faster you can access data online. For example, with a 5Mbps connection, it would theoretically take you right around 30 minutes to download a 1GB video. With a 1Gbps connection, that same video can theoretically be downloaded in 8 seconds. There are many factors that can impact the amount of bandwidth or “speed” you receive at any given time.
File size and download times are for illustration purposes only. Actual file size and download times may vary.
Wi-Fi vs. a Hardwired Internet Connection
Using an ethernet cord to connect to the Internet is usually the best way to maximize Internet speed. Connecting via Wi-Fi is cordless, and can impact speed.
Capability of Connecting Device
Every Internet-enabled device has unique capabilities and features (number of antennas, etc.) that can affect its maximum speed. For example, if you’ve purchased a 600Mbps connection from TDS but your laptop operates at a maximum of 300Mbps, then 300Mbps will be your top speed.
Number of Connected Devices
All devices accessing your TDS High-Speed Internet connection will share bandwidth. This could result in less Internet speed. Learn more here: https://tdstelecom.com/support/internet/connection-speed-slowness.html
Age of Devices
Different devices have different Wi-Fi capabilities. For example, older laptops and smartphones may not download information as quickly as your new tablet. When both old and new devices are accessing the Internet at the same time, the new devices may have to wait until the old devices finish communicating.
Wireless Router Placement
Another factor that can affect your wireless speeds is the location of your wireless router (also known as a “gateway.”) The optimal location depends upon your home’s layout. In some homes, the best location could be in a living room; in others, a basement. A central location in your home is ideal. The more distance and the more obstructions between you and the wireless router, the slower the speeds you will experience.
Every Internet connection employs different protocols to ensure secure and efficient communication. Think of mailing someone a letter. You can only fit so many words on a piece of paper, and so many pieces of paper in an envelope. Once you run out of room, you need another envelope. The envelopes in this example represent overhead. Each “packet” of information sent over the Internet includes things like the origination and destination IP address, and the type of data (text, Excel file, picture, movie, etc.) Overhead usually accounts for 5–7% of your overall bandwidth, but can be as high as 20%. (https://tdstelecom.com/support/internet/connection-speed-connection-overhead.html)
Viruses and Malware
Some viruses and other types of malware use up bandwidth by sending and receiving information in the background without your knowledge. Scan your device(s) regularly and remove viruses and malware.
Internet Speeds on a Shared Network
Most Internet service is accessed on a network shared with other locations nearby. That means that whether you get your Internet through a Fiber network or via DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), your Internet speed can be affected by the number of devices accessing your network at any given time. High traffic volume in your area may impact the Internet speed you receive, depending on what you’re doing online.
Type of Connection
Fiber-to-the-home networks offer customers the fastest possible speeds by moving information via light, with little to no signal degradation due to distance traveled.
A DSL connection transfers information over a partially copper network, which means Internet speed is affected by how far away your home or business is from TDS’ serving equipment.
Wiring in Your Home
The wiring in your home, from the outside to where your modem is connected, influences the rate at which you send or receive data. Wiring factors include:
- Number of times the wiring is split/patched into other jacks inside your home
- Quality of wiring (gauge, shielding, etc.)
- Integrity of wiring (shielding in place, not chewed on by animals, etc.)
- Age of wiring inside of home
Generally, the stronger the signal, the faster your Internet experience will be. Signal strength can be affected by conditions that exist between your home and TDS’ serving equipment, such as the distance, size of the wiring, the number of splitters or amplifiers, and more.
The Host Server
Most content (text, video, imagery, audio, etc.) on the Internet is kept on a host server, which has a limit to the amount of information it can store. High traffic volume can affect the speed at which that host server delivers content to you. Imagine the spike in demand when a long-awaited Netflix release occurs, or the increased traffic to your favorite pizza place’s website during the big football game. The host server may struggle to deliver the data as quick as it is requested. The network link connecting the host server can also be slowed down during high-traffic times.
Accessing Local vs. Distant Content
Accessing a server in your own town is likely to be faster than accessing one on the other side of the world. Generally, the closer you are to the server being accessed, the more responsive your Internet experience will be.
No single company owns all of the network connections on the Internet. Oftentimes, you connect to a host or host sever outside the TDS network. All of the previously mentioned network bottlenecks can also exist on a different company’s network.
High-Speed Internet: Availability varies and speeds shown may not be available at all service addresses. Certain speeds are only offered in areas served by TDS Fiber. Speed ranges shown are expressed as “up to” to represent network capabilities between customer location and the TDS network. Most customers can expect to receive a stable speed within the range of the product purchased as allowed by the quality and capability of the connection; however, actual speeds experienced by customers vary and are not guaranteed. Some customers may receive lower than the indicated speed range. Speeds vary due to various factors, including but not limited to: distance from switching locations, network equipment, delivery technology, and external/internal network conditions. Speed tests may produce inconsistent results due to various factors, including the speed test program or website used, the number of devices connected to the customer’s modem, and whether the speed test is conducted over Wi-Fi. Customers that are not receiving the indicated speeds may cancel their service or downgrade to a lower-speed service without any termination or switching charges. Otherwise, a $15 service charge will apply to existing customers who switch plans without increasing speed or adding qualifying service. Additional equipment may be required and charges may apply. In order to maximize Internet speeds above 100Mbps, a gigabit wired Network Interface Card (NIC) and/or a more advanced wireless NIC, preferably 802.11ac or higher is needed.