How to Save Money & Headache on Home Internet
Your home internet bill is pretty much a necessity. For many people, high fees and less than reliable service have many consumers questioning exactly what they’re paying for.
Today, you’re going to learn the ins and out of your internet bill including:
- Exactly what you’re paying for month to month
- How to read your internet bill
- How much speed you need to not experience slowdowns
- Why your internet is running slow
- How to save money on your internet bill
Basic internet terms
Downloading refers to transferring data from the Internet to your computer.
Upload is the opposite of that. Uploading is pushing data from your device to the internet.
Bandwidth is the maximum rate at which you can download data from the internet to your computer.
The easiest way to explain bandwidth is to compare it to plumbing. Bandwidth is the size of the pipe and your internet speed is how fast that water is moving.
The larger your bandwidth is the more devices you can use simultaneously.
Internet speed explained
Your internet speed is measured in the number of megabits that can be downloaded in a second.
Upload speed is usually listed as the second number after download speed — for example, 50 Mbps/10 Mbps
5 Mbps or less: Enough for casual Web surfing, including checking email. Can be enough to stream a standard-definition video
10-5 Mbps: Good for web surfing. Often fast enough to stream a 720p high-definition video, and it’s possible to download some videos within about 20 minutes at this speed. 10 Mbps can still be sluggish.
25-11 Mbps: Generally quick enough to stream a 1080p (high-def) video.
50-26 Mbps: More appropriate for somebody who wants a reliable experience to stream content and/or make fast downloads.
1000 – 51 Mbps: (1000 is also known as 1 Gigabit) Appropriate for people who want to run a lot of applications at once, fast enough to download large files in seconds. Can be used for business reasons.
Common reasons why your internet doesn’t work
Your internet service provider can’t 100% guarantee your speeds all the time.
Some of the reasons why your internet is running slow could be online traffic and congestion. For example, If you are sharing a connection with other users, and if those users are streaming or downloading, while you’re trying to stream video you’ll experience a slowdown.
Sometimes your physical location and distance from the server can affect your speed. The further the signal has to travel the longer the delay can be.
The hardware used also plays a role in your internet speeds. Some of the older hardware uses coax cables which have much smaller bandwidth than the new fiber optic cables.
Fiber optic cables offer wider bandwidth and faster speeds in general than coax. Companies like Google Fiber and AT&T fiber use fiber optic cables instead of coax like Spectrum.
Time of day is also another factor the internet has peak times for traffic that contribute to speeds slowing down especially if you and your neighbors share a singular node. This is usual when you have a coax service. Fiber usually runs straight to your home or apartment so peak times for traffic won’t affect you.
Selective throttling may be the reason why you’re experiencing slower speeds. Some ISP’s purposely slow down specific types of data. For example, they may dial down all your speeds if you consume more than your monthly allotment of data.
The last reason why your internet speed may be slow is because of overloading your bandwidth. If 5 devices are splitting 100 Mbps that means they each are getting 20 Mbps. If the data they’re consuming exceeds 20 Mbps somebody’s going to get slowed.
How to test your internet speed
If you don’t know what your current internet speed there are a couple of ways to find out.
Call your ISP: Most of your internet bills don’t include what speed you have. After the day you sign up there likely isn’t going to be any evidence of what plan you have. Give them a call and ask for what speed you’re paying for.
Run a speed test: Run multiple speed tests. Your internet speed is likely to fluctuate, depending on what time of day it is. To get an accurate measurement of how much speed you’re receiving use this app or this website. These sites give a good estimate of what your download and upload speeds are.
To help me deliver the best show possible
Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode: