Why do I only get 1/10 the speed my internet plan advertises?

I am supposed to have 3.0 Mbps speed on my internet plan, but I have never in my life downloaded anything anywhere faster than 40 KBps. Is this because I’m doing something wrong or is 3.0 Mbps some kind of loophole gimmick thing?

Download speed depends on several factors. For instance, it’s possible that the server you’re downloading from can’t (or won’t) serve the file to you at the blazingly fast speeds your ISP advertises. This is fairly common. There are quite a few download accelerators that can split downloads across multiple servers, and they’re usually the best bet for getting faster download speeds . . . for large files, at least. They’re not really worth it for smaller files.

Another factor to consider if you have cable Internet access is that your neighborhood will share bandwidth. If you have a lot of people living near you who also have cable Internet and who like to move lots of bytes back and forth, then you’ll see a drop in speed on your end.

If you want to test to see if you’re getting the bandwidth that was advertised, then run dslreport’s speed test and see what your actual bandwidth is.

The only thing that will tell you is how fast you were able to download a test file from that particular server at that particular time. It doesn’t really tell you a whole lot about your bandwidth. There are too many other factors at work.

But to answer your basic question - if 40KB/sec is the best you can get from anywhere, then yes, something is wrong. My 1Mbps DSL connection, ostensibly 1/3 the speed of your connection, regularly gives me downloads in the 100+ KB/sec range.

40k sounds suspiciously like you’re still connecting with a regular dial-up modem. That’s not a possibility, is it?

Take Joe Random’s advice and take the speed test at DSLreports.com. Your speed should be about 90% of the advertised speed. After that go to the Tweak forum, answer the 11 questions and someone will help you tweak your computer to get as much speed as possible.

No, that would be 4kB/s. Don’t forget that communication line speeds are in kilobits (or megabits) per second, while download speeds are commonly quoted in kilobytes (or megabytes) per second. There are eight bits in a byte these day, so you must divide by 8. A 56kb/s modem connection will get you at most 7 kB/s download, and in practice will go considerably slower than that due to overhead.

A 3Mbps connection should theoretically give you about 400KiloBYTES per second download speed. The best way I’ve found to test this is to download something from your ISP so all other factors are eliminated. My ISP conveniently provides a test file for just this purpose but if yours doesn’t, you might have to hunt around a bit for an appropriately sized file. Also, there are applications out there that can check your download speeds at regular intervals. If you are on a heavily congested cable line, presumably your speed would be much better at 3am and the program will tell you that.

Not unless you have a different theory than the rest of the world. The raw speed of a 3Mbps connection is 384 kB/s, and you’re going to lose up to 20% of that to protocol overhead. 330 kB/s is a much more realistic expectation.

Actually, it tells you quite a bit. DSLreports has the test servers set up that have very high bandwidth, that sit as close as possible to a main Internet backbone, and that reject bandwidth tests if they’re getting anywhere close to being saturated.

It’s true that there are other factors involved, but it’s still the most accurate method I’ve found to test your bandwidth.

Mbps is megaBITS per second whereas MBps is megaBYTES per second (network traffic is measured in bits.) Since there are 8 bits in a byte, you should see download speeds of about 1/8th the advertised Mbps. Due to the factors other people have mentioned, it is very likely that your speeds would be 1/10th the advertised Mbps.

Just to clarify, they advertise 3.0 Mbps, which should be 3072 Kbps or 384 KBps, no matter how you say it. I am getting about 38 KBps and when I do a few different speed tests that’s as fast as it gets.

I will try the tweaking advice but I don’t really think it’s going to increase my speed by ten. I will look at my plan again, it probably says “up to 3.0 Mbps.”