I'm supposed to get 7 Mbps; speed tests consistently only get 3.8 or so

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by HarryWarden, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. HarryWarden macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #1
    The highest I ever get is 4.3 or thereabouts. I'm signed up for the 7 Mbps plan. Shouldn't I at least be getting 5? Is there something wrong with my Internet connection or is it normal to get not even that close to advertised speeds on DSL? I have Centurylink.
     
  2. TC400 macrumors 6502a

    TC400

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    #2
    You hardly ever get the exact speed advertised. It also depends on the time of day on which you are browsing the internet. Peak hours internet tends to be slower. Off peak hours it tends to be faster. You can also call your ISP and complain they will refresh the signal it will be fast again for like a day or so. I would search for other ISPs if possible.
     
  3. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #3
    How is the Macbook connected to the internet?
     
  4. HarryWarden thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #4
    99% of the time via Wi-fi.

    ----------

    What do I say when calling? That I'm not getting the advertised speed or even that close to it?
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    Try connecting it directly to the modem and running the speed test.
     
  6. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #6
    The first problem is, you're on CenturyLink. CenturyLink is not exactly well known for its quality internet connections. The vast majority of their network are leftovers from Sprint (Embarq) and Qwest, and other network pieces that Verizon and AT&T sold off to them, because those other two companies didn't feel it was profitable to maintain those parts of their networks anymore. So unfortunately, CenturyLink buys these "abandoned" networks which aren't in the best of shape to begin with, and often has limited resources to fix them up AND keep their pre-existing plant operational, too.

    The second problem is, you're on DSL, and the speed you get on DSL is distance-based. The farther you are from the central office, the less likely you are to get the maximum advertised speed. This is why most places offering DSL say that for a certain price you can get "up to" a certain speed. The max is never guaranteed, but they will do a best-effort to at least give you a speed faster than the max of the next-cheapest tier.

    You can complain to CenturyLink, but I have a feeling they'll tell you that as long as the speed is higher than the cheaper plans they offer, they'll consider that normal. If it's slower, they'll just say they can't offer you the higher speed and bump you down to the cheaper plan.

    And realistically, unless they can reroute your circuit to a shorter path (which will result in some downtime, like a day or more), any attempt to force your DSL modem to sync to a higher rate will probably result in dropouts and frequent outages while your modem keeps trying to resync to the higher speed.

    At 7Mbps "max" speed, it's really unlikely that the WiFi connection or your router is the problem, though if you hook up directly via ethernet and run your speed test again, you can confirm that pretty easily.
     
  7. HarryWarden thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #7
    Centurylink is putting in a supposedly big upgrade that will result in speeds up to 1 GB. I'm assuming it'll be fiber and who knows exactly when it'll happen. They weren't able to tell me when I called about my slow speed beyond the vague "Later this year."
     
  8. three macrumors 6502a

    three

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Washington State
    #8
    CenturyLink is T E R R I B L E. I'm also with them and I have the same 7 Mbps plan. The highest download speed that I've ever seen on my end is a little under 5 Mbps... I just did a speed test right now and here are my results. Can't wait to leave CenturyLink.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030

    gmanist1000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    #9
    I have 20 from CenturyLink, I'm lucky if I get 12.

    Also, my internet drops almost every day, up to 15 times per day.

    I hate CenturyLink.
     
  10. RianT macrumors member

    RianT

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #10
    Internet speed not matching advertised speed is the never ending problem with ISPs... they always try to be sneaky and say stuff like "Up to", and people tend to leave out those words and read it as "constant".
    I used to be Verizon DSL and they promised me 15Mbps, I was lucky to ever get 5Mbps.
    Switch to a cable provider if you can. They usually provide more consistent speeds in my experience.
     
  11. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #11
    Unless you've already seen trucks rolling in an either stringing new cable on poles, or laying orange-sheathed cables in the ground, its' doubtful you'll get fiber later this year. Some critics of telcos and their practices often call this "fiber to the press release."

    Are there other options in your area? If CenturyLink is saying they'll do gigabit fiber, then I wonder if Google Fiber might be coming to town soon, if they're not there already. They usually don't push for that unless competition in the area is heating up and they have no other choice. It might be worth looking into that, or the cable company, and then just switch back if and when CenturyLink makes good on that gigabit promise.
     
  12. HarryWarden thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #12
    Comcast is the only other option right now. Google Fiber passed us over when considering its next city in which to develop. Centurylink is already constantly running TV ads for its Gig service and how it's coming to my area. "What will you do with your Gig?" is their slogan.

    If I were to switch to Comcast, is there a contract I would have to sign? I'd rather not be locked in to any one option in case it too isn't all it's cracked up to be. For those that have Comcast, how is it for Internet? I used to have it for TV (pre Universal) and wasn't much of a fan but maybe Internet is better.
     
  13. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #13
    Comcast's internet is often very good. It constantly ranks as one of the better ISPs in the US and often achieves better speeds than what you're paying for by 1-3Mbps. I think their starting package is 15Mbps, a good jump from your DSL speeds.
     
  14. HarryWarden thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #14
    In my area, I just checked and they start at 25Mbps for $30/month for the first 12 months. Just wondering if they have cancellation fees or a contract tied to that because if they don't, I'll switch ASAP.
     
  15. abta1 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    Paris, France
    #15
    Sounds like it would be a 24 month contract from reading their 'Details and restrictions' which a penalty fee if you cancel early.
     
  16. scaredpoet, Sep 5, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014

    scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #16
    Some of Comcast's promotions do have a contract/early cancellation fee. Particularly if it's one of those which offer a rebate gift card for signing up.

    Your best bet is to call them up directly, and ask for any plans which do not have any contract terms or early cancellation fees, and see what they give you for pricing.

    In my area, I can get (if I were a new customer) "internet plus" service which offers 25Mbps down/5Mbps up, and basic local cable TV for $50 a month, no contract, no cancellation fees. For $60, they offer the same terms but with 100Mbps down/10Mbps up (they call this the "Blast" tier).

    FWIW: I'm on the blast tier, and Comcast consistently exceeds their advertised speed. I'm not at home so I can't do a speedtest until tonight, but here's my most recent one:

    [​IMG]

    There is one caveat: Comcast's customer service is pretty lousy. For that reason, I can't say they're the best, or even very good, and my rating of them is pretty much "meh." But, it can't be any worse than CenturyLink, and the service itself has been reliable enough for me that the last time I had to call customer service for assistance was when Hurricane Sandy knocked down our line. So that's a bag of hurt I've not had to deal with much. If you decide to go this route, you probably won't have to deal with them either once you're installed, until the time comes for you to cancel.
     
  17. HarryWarden thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #17
    How much are installation costs? Is it a pretty painless process getting the modem to work with a wi-fi router?
     
  18. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #18
    There was no installation fee when I signed up, but again, make sure that's the case when you call them for pricing. This probably varies depending on the region/market.

    Actually, it's a good thing you mention the modem, because I forgot: Comcast tacks on an $8/month modem rental fee if you use their modem. Or, you can buy your own and use that (which is what I ended up doing), then just eBay it if/when you decide to leave. The modems do work fine with wifi routers.

    Alternately, you can get a combined Modem/Wifi/Router gateway combo, that combines everything into a single unit but I don't recommend getting that unless you intend to stay with Comcast for a long while. Such a device will not work on DSL, nor on gigabit fiber.
     
  19. HarryWarden thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #19
    I just bought a Netgear Nighthawk router to improve range in my house so I for sure won't be buying a combo modem/router. I'm paying $7/month for renting Centurylink's modem.
     

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