You’ve changed your Broadband supplier and it’s not going well. The laptop just doesn’t seem as fast as before. At the third time of asking, you are still trying to complete that program you are trying to catch up with on iPlayer before it drops into an archive you can’t reach. It was never like this before, you howl. Someone’s going to pay, you scream. And then you reflect that it’s you, and that you already have.
How often is this scenario repeated in studies and living rooms across the country every night? Look across the rooftops in any town and you can almost hear the hum of indignation in the air. Return to your laptop and hover over the little network icon and you see something like this -
Wireless Network Connection
Speed: 54.0 Mbps
Signal Strength: Good
Wasn’t the Signal strength V.Good last time I looked? Wasn’t it Excellent all the time before we changed supplier? That figure of 54.0 looks ridiculously low; surely it was way over 100 whenever you looked in the past?
It’s phone-a-friend time, someone from a younger generation preferably. What was the name of that Broadband Speed Test tool that can clock the speed to your machine? Broadband Speedchecker, that was it. Arc it up. Let’s see, hit the ‘Start speed test’. A satisfying, and almost audible whiz of numbers on the little speedo and tacho, and the result? Well it says the Download Speed is 7.73 Mb/s and Upload Speed is 1.02 Mb/s. Hang on, how does that relate to the 54.0 figure already mentioned. Oh dear, I feel a “I don’t begin to understand this” tantrum coming on.
Almost time to call the techy son but first try to retain at least a shred of dignity by attempting a little research. Hit Google and read some views on the subject. Well PC Advisor report earlier this year that the UK’s average broadband speed is 7.6 Mbps. The same page reveals that at least a couple of sources rate the performance in the U.S to come in a good deal lower than that. A reason to be smug? Or a reason to suspect the figures? Better get a second opinion and run that InternetFrog Speedtest that is advertised on the next page. Results are 1.23 Mbps for both Download and Upload. Who was that wise man who said that you can have too many opinions?
Well I’ve had the lecture again from No. 1 son about how some of the numbers relate to speed of transmission between my laptop and the wireless hub/router on the end of the cable, and how the other numbers are all about what goes on beyond my door in that great cloud of unknowing. I’ve had my fun and pressed a few buttons. I’ve seen the numbers race around. I’ve paid my bill and the programs and the Youtube clips work most of the time. And apparently, on average, I’m ahead of the Yanks. Time to let someone else worry about the figures and get back on the Word Processor.