Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Gigabit Ethernet Didn’t Make Internet Faster

Reader asks why upgrading to Gigabit Ethernet didn’t improve their Web surfing speed.

Q: I recently purchased a Linksys WRT 310 wireless router that has four Gigabit ports. My Dell desktop is a XPS which I was told was “Top of the Line” has a built-in gigabit port. I even purchased new cables to make sure my network was going to be “gigabit”. I hooked it all up and I don’t see any improvement in my internet. The salesman told me that “gigabit” was the fastest.. so how come I’m not surfing faster? Did I do something wrong or do I need to buy a different brand? Thanx.

A: No, you (most likely) didn’t do anything “wrong”, and you don’t need to buy a different router.

Let me, first of all, cover a few “basics” (see also, Wired or Wireless?*)
Kilo = 1,000 = thousand
Mega = 1,000,000 = million
Giga = 1,000,000,000 = billion

And then let me ask you to look at a simple network diagram.

In this diagram, the Internet is represented by the “cloud” (thus.. “cloud computing”) and I made it appropriately dark and stormy. The Internet connection is represented as the yellow zigzag — this can be a phone line (dial-up, DSL, IDSN) or a coaxial cable.
The blue is your (now Gigabit) Ethernet cabling.

For sake of argument, I made the Internet connection a cable High-speed connection, and I made the download speed a Premium-grade 12 Mbps .. 12 “megabits” per second. (I’d like to have this in RL.. but I have 3 Mbps DSL).
Note that I said “download speed”. Unless you order a special line into your home/office, your “Internet speed” is always your download speed. And, your “upload” speeds are always significantly slower.. as represented by the 486 kilobits per second.

The lines you changed are the blue lines. And so, yes, you have billion-bit lines there (Gigabit). You have multiplied by a thousand the theoretical rate at which computers A, B, and C can “talk” to the router and to each other. You did not change how the modem and the cloud are talking. That is still 12 Megabits down/point 486 (.486) Megabytes up.

Your Internet speed is controlled by two things: one, your service “level” (3 Mbps is more expensive than 1.5, and 6 Mbps is even more expensive, etc.) and two, the technology that can come into your home — dial-up, DSL, ISDN, Satellite, cable, wireless, and fibre-optic.

Because your desktop can “talk” to the router at a higher rate of bits, you might notice a very slight improvement in surfing speed.. but, if you want faster Internet, you have to upgrade either your service level, or/and the method it comes in on (the yellow zigzag) .. say, upgrading from dial-up to cable.

The advantage to Gigabit Ethernet comes in when transferring data across the LAN.. say, from computer A to computer B. Such as if you are backing up the files on A over to B, or “streaming” videos from C to A and B.

The Linksys is a good router (though I read that it runs hot, so you want to keep it in an open, well-ventilated area) and all-Gigabit on your LAN is a “good thing”.
I just think you were expecting the wrong results.

Today’s free link: Curious as to what speed your ISP is really providing? Click here, and pick the “server” location nearest to you. You’ll see both your upload and download speeds. Flash required.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 8, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, Internet, networking, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Happy Holidays to you

Today marks the beginning of the long holiday weekend and many of you will be traveling to be with your loved ones, and I hope your travels will be safe ones. Go forth and spread joy and ease pain, and enjoy the blessings of life during this special time of year. We here at Tech–for Everyone Headquarters (that is to say, me, myself, and I) wish you the very best of Holidays.

And now, how’s about I answer a few reader-submitted questions?
Q: How do I copy a picture from a webpage? I want to paste it into my document, but Ctrl+C doesn’t work.
A: This method will not work because of the way webpages are actually displayed (the way HTML works). Images (and certain other elements) are stored separately on the webserver and must be downloaded to your browser. And there’s code in the webpage that ‘points’ to that image, and ‘place-holder’ code to tell your browser where the image is supposed to go. When you open a webpage that contains images, your browser follows these pointers and downloads the image from the server for display. If you’ve ever had had a slow Internet connection, you have witnessed this process: first the text appears, and then the banner image, and then the first image, and so on, as each element downloads.

cm.jpgWhen you find an image on the Internet that you would like a copy of, you must tell your computer to download a copy to your machine, and not your browser. To do so, right-click on the image to open the context menu.
Now click on “Save Picture As”. This will open a Save As dialogue, and you will choose where to save it, give it a name, and so on, just as you would do any other Save.
Once the image file is downloaded to your computer, you can do with it what you will… such as Insert it into your document.

I would like to remind you, Dear Reader, that creative property, like photography, is the property of the creator; and that publishing their work without their permission is a violation of the law– it doesn’t matter if you’re making money from their property or not. So please exercise restraint and follow the law when grabbing images off of the Web.

Generally speaking, using an image for purely personal use, such as using it as a screensaver, is okay. But when presenting the image for others to see, you must search out a “royalty free” or “public domain” image, such as this, season appropriate image.wonlife.jpg

Q: My Internet is slow. How can I speed it up?
A: There are many “tweaks” that people say improve the speed of your Internet connection. And there are programs, called “speedboosters” that claim to increase your Internet speed by up to 600%.
You may have noticed — from my choice of language — that I am not overly enthusiastic about these, and that’s correct. I’m not.

These “speedbooster” programs do, in fact, use a different method for fetching information from the Web — a method similar to how a Download Manager program works — and using one may occasionally appear to make your connection faster, but by and large I consider them to be.. well.. not worth the money. I do recommend using a free download manager if you frequently download programs or/and large files, but I do not recommend a “speedbooster”.

The only real way to have a faster Internet connection is to purchase more bandwidth– described as bits-per-second. This can be done by moving to a faster connection type, such as moving from dial-up to DSL, or paying for a higher level of service. The availabilty of type and service-level is often controlled by your geographical location.

Today’s free link: To locate and identify what types of Internet service is available where you live, a service locator is the way to go: such as the one at the very useful website, DSL Reports. (No. It is not just for DSL.)
If upgrading to faster type of connection simply is not possible where you live, you may be able to “tweak” your TCP/IP Settings for slightly better performance. This involves changing things in the Windows Registry, and so I recommend that you use a safe tool to try this (if you try it at all), and the best of these can be found on the “Tools” page at DSL Reports. Use the tools there to determine if there are any problems with your settings, and follow the recommendations (particularly, “Tweak Test”). Then download Dr. TCP and make the adjustments recommended by the Tweak Test tool to “optimize” your connection. Run another speed test or two (or three). If there’s no improvement, use Dr. TCP to revert to your previous settings.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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December 21, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech, Windows | , , , | Leave a comment