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Feeling that my ISP is cheating my money ( My subscription package is 1 Mbps), I did a speed test on my internet connection using www.speedtest.net.

I tried to test the connection speed on two servers, one local ( Malaysia), another in U.S.

I found that while the upload speed remain constant, but the download speed is different; 0.76 Mbps for servers in Malaysia, and 0.12 Mbps for servers in U.S.

I called the ISP, and they blamed it on the intercontinental signal lost. But how can it be that the speed differs by that much? If it really differs by that much than we should always take a grain of salt of what is advertised as the broadband speed because the advertised speed is not the speed we are getting. No?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. Yes, you should take it with a grain of salt.

  2. The connection speed that your ISP offers is the connection from you to them, not to the rest of the world.

  3. Your connection to a speedtest server that is local to your geographic region is going to be faster than a connection to a speedtest server on the other side of the world, as noted in Kenneth's answer.

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A few things will affect the speed of information arriving to your machine. These can include:

  1. Distance / Route Traveled (remember its a network so the same data won't always take the same route)
  2. Speed of the sender (if their speed is slower than yours then your speed will be their speed). This would also include the speed of any networks that the data might pass through.
  3. Amount of traffic on your ISP and their Bandwidth. If they don't have enough bandwidth to support all their clients then your speed will get reduced or maybe even stopped altogether.
  4. Quality of wires or other connection media over which your data travels. Bad connections result in reduced speed. "Noise" really wreaks havoc.
  5. Etc.

That being said I think the biggest thing might be the distance involved. Generally speaking your ISP connection speed rating is the MAX speed (or a rough estimate) of what you can achieve with that connection. Yes it sucks but that's unfortunately the way it is.

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@Kenneth, I understand your point; but the problem is that the losses between local and overseas servers are very big; is this entirely normal? –  Graviton Mar 10 '11 at 4:56
    
Yes, quite normal. –  EEAA Mar 10 '11 at 4:58
    
@Graviton - we've got some clients in south-east asia that have a VPN into our offices in Australia, and we notice shocking packet loss. South-east asia (Australia and NZ included, although to a lesser extent) seem to have rubbish uplinks to the rest of the world. Perhaps demand hasn't outstripped supply yet? –  Mark Henderson Mar 10 '11 at 7:43

Advertised broadband or adsl speed is usually much less that actual. Kenneth sums it up pretty well, if I were you I d run speedtest for a week from various of adsl speedtest websites 2-3 times per day and write down any results. That way you will have more examples to take into consideration in order to find out how you fast is your actual download speed. Another old fashioned method is to ask any of your neighbors to run same tests and compare their results with yours.

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