Your Internet speed is one of the most important aspects of your computing life, especially as the world moves to The Cloud and much of traditional computing moves online. You dont want to mess around with something moderately fast: You are a heavy Internet user and you need the fastest speeds around.
What Internet Service Provider (ISP) do you choose? Fortunately, the statistics are easy to find, having been compiled by leading network-test company Ookla, PC Magazine and others. Read on to find out.
Where Internet Comes From
There are several different methods of accessing the Internet. Cable providers offer broadband high-speed Internet access; sometimes they have a monopoly in a certain area, meaning that whatever cable provider supplies your house or apartment is the only way to get cable Internet.
Other companies offer DSL using a phone line as the pipeline to the Internet. Other providers including Verizon and AT&T have begun offering Fiber Optic Internet, in which a technician installs fiber optic cables that can be used for ultra high speed Internet as well as TV, phone and other services. Newer services have begun to offer home 4G LTE wireless Internet with tremendous speed potential, but these are still too unproven to make any top lists.
How Speed Is Measured
Internet service has two speeds: Download speed and upload speed.Both are important, but the majority of Internet users rely primarily on downloading webpages, images, videos and more, so download speeds tend to be three-to-four times higher than upload.
Speeds are measured in Megabytes Per Second (MBPS), or sometimes in Gigabytes.
Going off of nationwide averages gives a good idea, although the fastest speed you can get depends on your location as well as provider. Find out who the fastest providers are in your region, or test your own connection speed at speedtest.net.
Top ISPs, measured by average speed (as opposed to promised high speed):
- Optimum Online (Cablevision):The cable provider in New York and the Tri-State area, Cablevisions Internet averages 23.43 MBPS.
- Charter Communications: A fast download speed helps cable provider Charter achieve an average 23.35 MBPS.
- Verizon: Verizons FiOS provides Internet via fiber optics; the most expensive plan advertises speeds over 100 MBPS. Verizons traditional DSL broadband offers high speeds as well: the average including both FiOS and the much more common DSL is 21.18 MBPS.
- Comcast: The largest cable provider in the country, Comcasts Xfinity service breaks 100 MBPS and averages 19.75 MBPS.
- Cox: Another major cable provider, Coxs average Internet speed is 17.85 MBPS.
In addition, Google has begun offering ultra-high-speed Internet in Kansas City. Known as Google Fiber, the fiber optic service will boast a one-gigabyte per second download speed. Expect to see Google and the competition unveil similar services nationwide over the next few years.