Why Bandwidth Speed Is Not A Performance Indicator

Posted by Adam Sewell on 8/13/23

I know we're not the only computer repair shop or IT provider that consistently receives tickets regularly which go a little something like this. "My computer keeps getting kicked off of (insert stable sensitive application) but all of the other devices in my house are fine and I have the fastest Internet available by my provider, what gives?" We know it's frustrating, but unfortunately you've been lied to by the marketing department. In all of their marketing, I've yet to see one Internet Service Provider (ISP) advertise a stable connection but rather advertise the download speeds of their plans. Years ago, and I'm talking 56K dail-up or DSL, download and upload speeds were a little more important, and it still is kind of important but there are other aspects that are just as, if not more than, important than download speeds. Let me explain.

Imagine you are driving on the highway. Higher Internet speed is like driving in the fast lane but you have to take other factors into consideration. In theory, you should be able to get where you are going more quickly, but only if the road is well-maintained, there are no traffic jams, and you don't get stuck in heavy traffic.  Whereas a stable internet connection is like driving on a well-maintained road, even at slower speeds. You wouldn't have road construction, no pot holes to hit, no other traffic to contend with, etc.

Internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps), which is not the same as hard drive or RAM measurements. The higher the Mbps, the faster the internet. Stable internet is measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower the ms, the more stable the internet.

For most people, a fast internet connection is important for things like streaming video, downloading files, and online shopping. A stable internet connection is important for things like video conferencing, playing video games online, and working from home. These activities require a stable connection so that all of the services running on your computer can have the latest information sent to it but in a reliable way.

Some examples of how fast and stable internet can affect your online experience:

  1. Fast internet allows you to stream videos without buffering or lag.
  2. Stable internet ensures that you can stay connected to video conferences without interruptions.
  3. Fast internet allows you to download files quickly.
  4. Stable internet ensures that you can work from home without experiencing disruptions.

At the end of the day, we typically do not recommend the fastest internet plan available for work from home users but usually the basic plan. For years, our entire office has been ran off of the most basic business plan because we ensure that it's a stable connection, it is all we need. Our more bandwidth intensive applications are in our data center. If you're a business and have a lot of users working from home who are getting kicked off RDS or disconnected from your program consistently, give us a call, we can help.

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