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WebsiteCompass

9

you can get information from the web to

your device. Upload speed is the speed

at which you can send information from

your device to the web.

You can test your internet speed for free

at

www.speedtest.net.

That way, you’ll

know where you are now with your

internet connection.

How many internet-connected

devices do you have in your home?

Add up all the computers, tablets,

smartphones, smart TVs, Blu-ray disc

players, video game consoles, streaming

media devices, and smart home moni-

toring/automation equipment you use.

According to survey results released by

Pew Research in May 2017, the typical

(median) American household contains

five of them, and nearly one-in-five

American households are “hyper-con-

nected,” meaning they contain 10 or

more of these devices.

1

The more devices you have, the more

bandwidth/speed you need. Since

bandwidth is shared by every user and

device connected to your home net-

work, multiple online demands going

on simultaneously will require an

internet plan with speeds at the higher

end of the spectrum. Remember, even

background processes like software

updates use your bandwidth.

How do you use the internet?

If you only have a desktop computer

that’s used to check email and surf the

net, then a relatively slower internet

connection (such as 10 Mbps) may suf-

fice. However, if you have a family of

several people simultaneously using your

internet connection for data-intensive

activities—such as streaming HD video

and music, online gaming, sharing photos

and videos online, video chat, and cloud

storage—then you’re probably going to

be happiest with speeds in roughly the

50-200+ Mbps range.

What are your internet

performance expectations?

Let’s say you only occasionally watch

videos online. In this case, you may be

willing to tolerate slow load times and

buffering. But if streaming HD movies is

a cherished part of your routine, you’ll

be frustrated by slow speeds and the

annoying lag that comes with them.

Make sure the internet speed you

choose is in line with the value you

place on internet performance quality.

Do family members or

houseguests complain about

your internet connection?

If your answer to this question is

“Yes,” it’s a sign that you might need

more bandwidth/speed. However, it’s

important to note that other factors

can also negatively impact your inter-

net performance.

For example, if your wireless router is

outdated, you may not be getting the

speed you expect from your plan. Some

older routers have a speed cap limiting

the maximum internet speed possible.

Replacing your router may be all that’s

necessary to get the speed you need to

keep everybody happy.

Other possible culprits for underper-

forming internet service include:

Your wireless router is in the wrong

location.

Keep your router centrally

located and away from thick walls

made of brick or concrete, water,

and windows.

Neighbors are using your Wi-Fi.

Putting

a password on your router or limiting

which devices can access your network

will keep other people from using your

network and slowing it down.

Your computer is infected with a virus.

This can make your internet connec-

tion appear to be sluggish, when in

reality, it’s a computer issue. Run a

virus scan and if a virus is detected,

follow the instructions.

Given the importance of the internet to so

many activities, it’s worth taking the time

to find exactly the right plan for you.

Get More Help FromYour ISP

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) offers a range of internet plans with varying speeds to match

the requirements of different households. You can get information by visiting the website. Better

yet, call the customer service line and get their advice on which internet plan might work best for

you. Customer service representatives have experience helping many customers and can make

suggestions on what might work best for you based on your location, devices, users, online

activities, and home network setup.

Keep in mind that your internet speed requirements will probably change over time. Regularly

evaluate your plan and talk to your ISP for up-to-date plan information.