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Slow Internet Speed Isn’t Always The ISP’s Fault

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ISP’s in the United States get a bad rap, and I have no intention of saying that they shouldn’t do better.  The issue is that many times the reason that Internet Speeds are so poor for end users has more to do with internal networking equipment than it does the ISP.

Networking equipment is one of those things that people think they only ever have to buy once, and then never think about again.  It’s a nightmare to get some people to replace equipment when it out and out dies, and it can be almost impossible to upgrade to better quality gear.

When I had the consulting company I still ran into clients with hubs al the way to 2010, and now that most people have gone wireless it’s disheartening to see how much old gear is still being used.  802.11g was adequate back when an Access Point might have 5-10 devices connecting to it.  Now that many people have 3 or more wireless devices individually even 802.11n can struggle.

This has been brought home to me as I travel around the US in my travel trailer.  Every RV park offers Wifi, but the equipment they use is so inadequate that many times you can’t even get a DHCP address. Recently I started running the terminal on my Mac and have been Pinging the default gateway constantly so I have an idea of then current connection quality.  I’ve been shocked to see many times not even half of the pings are replied to, and that there are time’s up to 4000 or more.  Literally I have never seen network responses this bad.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.12.59 AMSadly when this is brought up to management they sigh and talk about the crap internet service that is offered by the local ISP, and have no interest in trying to really solve the issue.

If your boss or clients are complaining about their ISP you should consider upgrading their networking gear.  The refresh cycle for networking equipment is longer than for PC’s but you should still have a schedule.  Gear is significantly faster and more stable every 5 years, and especially as more and more people expect wireless to work having good access points is a must.  In 2015 I can’t fathom why any business that advertises that they offer Wifi is not using 802.11ac.



Eli Etherton

I am Eli "the Computer Guy" and have been in the tech industry for approx. 20 years doing all kinds of odd projects. I started as an electronics tech in the US Army, worked in corporate IT during the IT Boom, was an individual consultant and grew my tech shop to have numerous full time employees and supported small business clients with computer repair/ server maintenance/ web development/ surveillance systems/ telephone systems until the great recession. After that I started creating video training on all the topics I know and now have a YouTube Channel with over 500K subscribers. I am the founder of and my plan is to create a tech "news" site that I would actually find useful if I was still in the server room.

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