Why Is My Internet Slow & What Can I Do About It?

A common question we get from our customers is; “why is my internet slow?”. A variety of factors can cause a decrease to internet speed. The main causes of slow Internet service connections speeds in the USA are;

  • The upgrading of network or ISP infrastructure which supports internet services (network disruptions).
  • The other factor is directly related to infrastructure. It is how we actually utilize the internet as a service today.

Internet Doing The Sloth Struggle Or Running With Cheetahs?

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How Do We Know Internet Is Slow?

As a business Internet Service Provider, we monitor thousands of US based internet service connections, both copper and fiber based. Slower internet speed is a trend we have seen more and more of recently with business internet connections. It’s not an isolated issue based on location or carrier dependent either. Internet service connections are slowing down across the USA. Essentially, internet service speeds are ‘maxing out’. Obviously this can be a frustrating experience when you are trying to get things done, or supporting multiple end users.

So Why Is My Internet Slow?

The problem of slow internet service speed is two-fold;

  1. Internet backbone providers have been frantically and vigorously upgrading infrastructure to satisfy the higher demands of customers. Often, they are implementing multiple 100 Gigabit backbones, but certainly multiple 10 Gigabit backbones. Disruptions from these upgrades can cause slow downs.
  2. These upgrades are essential to meet higher demands from cloud services, streaming and other utilities now available (and expected) from today’s internet service users.

What Are The Outcomes Of Improved Network Infrastructure?

Around 2 years ago in 2012 – 2013, we used to see internet speeds on the long haul at a max of about 20 Mbps. Today, we now see speeds frequently topping 50 Mbps. For example, this recent internet speed test to New York City from San Francisco, was 49 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload:

internet speed test san francisco to new york fastmetrics

How Do Slow Internet Speeds Affect End Users?

Where a 20 Mbps upload and 20 Mbps download internet connection was once more than adequate for a business, it suddenly starts maxing out as multiple users go to cloud based services such as dropbox, Amazon AWS, YouTube, etc. Now more than ever, 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps internet connections do not only make sense, they are a requirement. (2018 update: we have seen huge increases in demand for 500 Mbps and Gigabit service).

What Can I Do To Improve Internet Speed, Apart From Upgrade My Service Plan?

An alternative to an upgrade of internet service speed, is a firewall or managed router. A managed router can be setup to be used for traffic shaping (sometimes referred to as ‘packet shaping’). This router, such as a Meraki, Sonicwall or Draytek, as well as many other vendors, all support traffic shaping, based on source and destination IP addresses.

Hardware is setup to ‘shape’ traffic, based on destination and source. Combined with Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), a managed router can be an efficient way to prioritize traffic and increase data speed, based on what it is most important.

fastmetrics bandwidth management mpls

Single Data Connection MPLS Setup Example

Managed routers and MPLS techniques allow an IT department or Network Engineer to prioritize traffic. This could be to a cloud based provider, such as Salesforce, Google Drive, or others. Many services can be prioritized, based on importance.