How Do You Get Stable Upload and Download Speeds? A dedicated bandwidth connection can give you rock solid line performance.
By: John Shepler
A solid connection is a wonderful thing to have. Have you been scratching your head, wondering why your upload and download speeds vary all over the place? It’s likely the nature of the bandwidth connection you’ve chosen.
Why Can’t It Be Like a LAN?
Most of us are spoiled when it comes to local area network connections. Our computing equipment comes with Gigabit or at least Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) network interfaces right out of the box. Cat5E and Cat6 cables are common now, as are gigabit routers and switches. Even WiFi runs fast, especially on the 5 GHz band. Unless your network is overloaded, it’s transparent to you.
So why is communications so sluggish and unreliable on Internet broadband or other long distance connections?
We forget. In the early days of setting up local computer networks, they were sluggish too. Even then, it didn’t seem too bad compared to dial-up modems or X.25 links at 64 Kbps. What’s happened is that LAN networking technology has sped up by leaps and bounds and equipment prices have plunged dramatically. You have to make a real effort just to buy the slow stuff anymore.
The same technological advancements have also applied to Internet and private line connections. The cost savings haven’t been quite as dramatic and there still is a wide range of connectivity in use.
What Makes Line Speeds Vary
General sluggishness is usually due to congestion caused by low bandwidth or a shared link that is over-subscribed. Speeds that vary all over the place are usually due to shared bandwidth with periods of heavy usage that come and go. You might run a speed test and get 100 Mbps. A few minutes later you run the same test and get 10 Mbps for worse. That congestion will eventually let up, but you have no idea how soon.
Any system with multiple users that can’t support full speed simultaneous connections is going to have variations. Those cable broadband options that have such great pricing are subscribed to the point that they keep most users happy most of the time. But they are a shared resource and you can’t be sure how many of your fellow users are on at the same time or what they’ll be doing.
The same is true of 4G LTE wireless and will be true of 5G once there are enough devices deployed to sop up the bandwidth. Radio frequencies used in cellular and satellite have limited capacity, which is why they have data caps and also why too many users will drag the speed down.
In general, any bandwidth service with pricing attractive to consumers is going to be a shared service and also likely to be asymmetrical. In other words, the download speed will be much faster than the upload speed.
Dedicated Connections for Solid Bandwidth
You’ll get far more consistent performance from dedicated bandwidth. Do you remember T1 lines? Perhaps you still have one. The 1.5 Mbps speed is no longer accepted as broadband, but the performance is rock solid. That’s because you are the only user on the line. Whatever bandwidth you aren’t consuming just idles.
For point to point phone and data connections or interconnecting LAN networks at two different locations, dedicated private line bandwidth can’t be beat. Yes, it will cost a bit more than the commodity shared bandwidth services, but the performance will be rock solid. You’ll also see an improvement on the Internet with dedicated Internet access, but once you’re into the actual Internet, you can still get variability and latency issues.
This means your best connection to your cloud service provider is to bypass the Internet completely and install a dedicated private line from your location to the cloud center. Once you have that with enough bandwidth to support your peak activities, the cloud will seem like it is right next door.
Those T1 lines? Probably not going to cut it anymore, unless you are doing such simple tasks as email, casual web browsing and point of sale credit card verification. You’ll want to upgrade to at least Ethernet over Copper at 10 or 20 Mbps. A even better option is Fiber Optic Ethernet at 10 Mbps up to 10 Gbps and any speed in-between. Fiber bandwidth prices have dropped significantly in the last few years and availability has dramatically increased. You can thank 4G LTE and 5G cell towers for that, as well as competitive fiber optic service providers.
Are you frustrated by slow and highly varying bandwidth? How about VoIP phone service that is good one call and garbled the next? You should really look into dedicated bandwidth solutions including private lines and dedicated Internet access to improve your metropolitan and wide area network performance.
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