Let's Get WV Connected! Broadband in West Virginia

What About Speed?

Speed on the Internet is an elusive topic to discuss. The first and most important speed is “perceived speed”, a term we use to describe whether you think your connection is fast or not. Do you stream a full HD Amazon prime movie without hesitation or buffering? Well that’s fast, right? How about if you have a house full of teenagers, all online, consuming bandwidth? How much is enough? Do you like to play online games? A fellow recently had a speed problem. He was connecting wirelessly to his Internet connection, and playing an online game involving aircraft in war scenarios. The graphics were amazing, and bandwidth intensive. Simply taking the computer off of the wifi, and connecting a CAT5 cable between his laptop and his Internet service gave him the full bandwidth available. The game got much better!

What if you have a computer, and it gets a virus that slows things down? Do you blame the virus or the Internet?

Speed can be discussed in technical terms, but let’s start with a perception definition. For our purposes, we know what “fast” is. To complicate matters, there is an upload and download speed. Most of us use very little upload speed and enormous amounts of download speed. For example, when you ‘surf the net’, you click a link for the next page. That link follows a path, called the OSI model, and becomes a packet of binary data going out the wire, to the web server. The packet is quite small; however, the return page could be a two hour movie, or complex web page with lots of graphics. It’s for this reason that satellites “sort of “ work. The upload speeds are terribly slow, and downloads are reasonable. However, satellite services suffers from latency, or sluggishness between your mouse click and the arrival of the resulting page. Satellite service contracts often have bandwidth caps, or monthly limits to help the company even out their service distribution. Hit the cap and you get forcibly slowed to an un-useable crawl.

Are you a content producer, or content consumer? If the former, you will need a fast upload. For the rest of us content consumers, we need a decent speed. What’s decent? DSL? Not really; not anymore. It works, but suffers from saturation as the total speed can be shared and loaded.

Are you trying to video chat or video conference? Running a business? Skype? Accessing a large database to maintain your shopping cart/e-commerce solution? You need speed!

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