I subscribe to Charter’s cable Internet, and am allegedly paying for a speed of 60mbps. However, if I run one of the various speed-clock tools around the Web, the best I’ve been able to register is around 40mbps. And that was at 3:00AM.
Nevertheless, my bandwidth has never been a problem, so I haven’t complained. It’s been more than sufficient for my needs. Until now.
One of Charter’s selling points for their service is that it provides enough bandwidth to (specifically stated) play online games and watch streaming video on different devices, simultaneously. Up until now, I had never tested this. My only “device” is my computer (no television), and I am obviously not going to play World of Warcraft and watch Netflix at the same time on the same screen.
My fiancé lives in the apartment right next to mine, and because she has a big flatscreen TV but no cable, I set up her TV to access my WiFi so that she could watch Netflix. Shenanigans, I know, but it worked better for us to watch Netflix together on her sofa instead of sitting on uncomfortable chairs in front of my little computer screen in my bedroom.
Anyway, this is when I discovered that online gaming and viewing Netflix simultaneously just doesn’t work. Normally, when I play WoW, my latency hovers around a very sweet 50ms. If my fiancé fires up Netflix during my game session, however, my latency shoots up into the hundreds of milliseconds, and sometimes into the thousands, which obviously makes the game completely unplayable.
I’ve been intending to complain to Charter, but so far haven’t due to the aforementioned shenanigans (which will soon be moot, though, since my fiancé is moving in with me). But before I complain …
… could the problem be, not the bandwidth I’m getting from Charter, but rather my wireless router? That is, could the router be acting as a chokepoint, unable to process and transmit so much data at once?
I also wonder if Netflix is being given priority by Charter.