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How fast are you?

I enjoy writing about technology at Spy Journal Tech Tips. My lastest piece discusses Internet connection speeds. Reprinted here:

Our children will never appreciate the handshake of a 300 baud modem. The thought of transferring anything at 1200 baud is unthinkable even if we invoke the sacred z-modem. Now-a-days you are more likely to talk about megabits per second (a data rate) instead of baud (a symbol rate).

I find it amazing how our data communications have increased in such a short time. We used to drool over a T-1 connection (1.544Mbit/s). Since only businesses could afford such luxuries, people would plan weekend gaming sessions at their work place or stay late to download and surf in ways that the average home user could only dream possible. Now, your cable connection is likely faster than a T-1. Comcast advertises 6Mbit/s standard with 8Mbit/s for some extra money and is currently testing 16Mbit/s in Richmond, VA. The near future promises even better (28Mbit/s)!

What is your speed? Online testing services such as and can help you see if you are up to snuff. Your internal networking equipment can cause slowdowns so by-pass your router, hubs and other gear by plugging your computer directly into your cable or dsl modem when speed checking. You may need to power cycle the modem after connecting directly. (aka DSL Reports) is a fantastic resource when troubleshooting or investigating network speeds.

Your system software can influence speed. Tools like SG TCP Optimizer can greatly improve your Internet connection by adjusting network settings you may not even know exist.

See also It’s the latency, stupid for more understanding of speed issues. Read about hacking the Linksys router and Linksys Blue Box Router HOWTO.


2 thoughts on “How fast are you?

  1. […] On August 9 I asked How fast are you? C|Net brings a new speed test service to our attention. uses a snazzy graphical interface and records results. Other than making it look like the icon of the person is taking a whiz on the servers, the interface really brings this one home. I question the accuracy as it is the first service to truly rank my connection at the 6.5Mbit/s that it is supposed to be. […]

  2. […] Test your connection. There are other services to confirm your speeds. I also talk about speed here. […]

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