More people are working from home, and a home office is quickly being the gateway to the workplace. Even if it's wireless internet and a laptop wherever you feel like working or a miniature command center with more expensive equipment than some small businesses, you need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that can stand up to your technical needs. To understand what those needs are and how to make sure you're getting what you're paying for, here are a few speed and consistency details that apply to any ISP.
Consistent Internet Regardless Of Connection Type
A lot of internet service ads use speed as their main attraction, and it's understandable why. People want their downloads fast, their websites loaded smoothly, and their videos uninterrupted. Unfortunately, the raw speed of a data connection isn't the only thing you need to worry about.
To be truly fast, the data must be consistent. This means that when you request a piece of data such as a file download or pictures and videos from a website, you'll get it all with as few failures and interruptions as possible.
Most people don't realize the number of data failures that happen in even a successful data request. It's easy to identify a website or download that just won't load or results in an error, but there's a spectrum of failure that involves slow loading speeds.
When data doesn't arrive, that information needs to be sent again. This means that a download's time becomes longer because that single byte that should have taken less than a second needs to be transmitted again, and those bytes add up into bytes, kilobytes, and pretty soon you're left with entire minutes added onto the download time before it's bad enough to error out. The same thing happens with websites because you're actually downloading the content you see on the screen, but without a timer.
There are no "consistency packages" to order along with speed packages. In these cases, you're bound by the service-level agreement in your terms of service that spell out how much a connection can fail before it's considered a violation that your ISP must act upon. It's up to you to test the consistency and make sure that your home office gets the connectivity it needs.
Ensuring Proper Internet Service Performance
Testing is an important part of any internet customer's lifestyle, because it makes sure you and your ISP are getting the proper service. Aside from some scandalous and illegal situations, your ISP doesn't want your connection to be poor. If it's not caused by your computer or network equipment (modem, router, switch, etc), it means a part of their infrastructure that they're paying for isn't doing what it's supposed to do.
Testing for consistency is different from speed testing, so if you're confused about why websites such as Speedtest.net aren't showing any negative information, you're in the wrong place. DSLReports.com and Broadbandreports.com (these are the same site) include a Smokeping test and Line Quality test to find different performance issues with your connection, along with details on how to improve the situation with your ISP.
As you plan your home office efficiency, keep these tools in mind whether you're getting new service or trying to figure out what's going on with your current service. Contact an ISP representative today if you're looking for guidance on getting these tests tailored to your needs.