Lets forget about broadband for just a second. What if I told you that under optimal conditions, I am the fastest person in the world. That if the conditions are just right, I am the odds-on favorite to win the 100-meter dash at the Beijing Olympics in August.
Am I some sort of freakish athlete or super hero? Nope. I’m just a regular guy who happens to have unmatchable speed when the conditions are optimized for my running style. Conditions like when the 2 billion or so people who are actually faster than me simultaneously decide that they don’t want to race. When that happens, I’m simply dominant.
If my claim seems like a stretch given the ridiculous circumstances it requires, well… it is. Chances are that my optimal conditions will never be met, so it’s not really accurate to say that I’m an Olympic hopeful, let alone a favorite.
A similar scenario exists in the world of broadband and the results are often frustrating for users. The advertised speeds promised by many broadband providers are not the average, real-life speeds that you can expect to achieve from your computer. They are top-end, all-of-the-stars-properly-aligned, best-case scenario speeds and are generally only achievable under optimal conditions (broadband companies may phrase it slightly differently by saying “speeds UP TO 5mb/s,” etc.)
But much like my conditions for achieving Olympic glory, the optimal conditions required to hit advertised broadband speeds are not generally achievable for sustained periods of time. And although they are not quite as ridiculous as my running example, they can certainly be labled a stretch: less than 5 people in your neighborhood using the Internet at the same time, etc.
You may have 5 or more people using the Internet just within your own home, so what can you do about discrepancies between advertised and actual broadband speeds? Here’s 3 tips that can help you get a better handle on speed:
1) Ask Around – Find a nearby neighbor who already has the service you want and ask them what actual speeds they get during notoriously high-traffic times like 6-10pm. They can measure their actual speed by clicking on the “Speed Test” link on the right side of each page on High Speed Experts. This will give you a good idea of the speeds you can expect.
2) Read Reviews – Check out our Service Provider Reviews for accurate information on the actual speeds you can expect from providers in your area.
3) Talk To Us – Send us your information on the speeds you are getting with your service provider. We maintain a database of actual speed information which will soon be accessible to everyone, and the more data we get, the better analysis we can provide to readers.