How Fast Is Your Internet?

How fast is your internet connection? Is 10Mbps better than 10MBps? What's the optimal internet speed for your network? Tech Talker takes a closer look at your home internet connection.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #110

I received this question via email from listener Travis:

"I just listened to your podcast on home networking. I was wondering if you could tell me what speed I should look for in an internet service provider?"

Well Travis, that's a great question!

I get this question a lot when friends and family are comparing internet plans. Unfortunately there isn't one answer that works for everyone. The reason being is that people use the internet in completely different ways.

In today's episode I'll outline some things to consider when choosing your network provider and how to compare internet speeds..

Raw Speed

First things first - let's look at raw speed.

When you see speeds advertised for internet plans, you'll often see them reported as "up to __ Mbps."

This may seem relatively straightforward, however it's pretty deceiving. The first thing you'll notice is that "up to" means that at your internet's best performance, you'll see that speed. This is an ideal speed which I've only seen reached a handful of times. From my experience, your actual internet speed will be about 10% less than the maximum advertised.

The next thing to watch out for is Mbps vs. MBps. The only difference is that one "B" is capitalized and the other isn't. However this is a huge difference! Mbps stands for megabits per second, compared to MBps which stands for megabytes per second. I've mentioned in a number of previous episodes that there are 8 bits in 1 byte. So if you purchased an internet plan of 8Mbps that is actually only 1MBps. I know, I know it's confusing. 

This really matters when you're transferring files, simply because if you have a file that is 8MB, it will take 8 seconds to transfer, instead of 1 second. Hopefully I've cleared that up, because that's an issue many people encounter.

The next thing to consider is your actual internet usage......


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.