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Why am I not getting anywhere near 7Mbps download speeds? I'm paying for 7Mbps download speeds and yet the fastest I can get anything is around 360Kbps. It doesn't matter what time of day it is or who I'm downloading from. It doesn't matter which computer in the house I use. All my machines use gigabit network cards thru a gigabit router. They all use different versions of Windows and different Anti Virus software. Verizon says everything is working correctly but have no explanation. Is this typical of ISP's? Sell you the best they have and not provide it, or could something at my end be wrong.


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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Because your ISP doesn't sell you 7Mbps, they sell you 'up to 7Mbps'.

The speed of your connection also depends on how high a quality the line is from your house to the ISP. For DSL users, you'll be connected to a telephone exchange, or similar - if you're further from the exchange, you will see decreased performance. If the DSL line is not properly filtered or suffers from excessive line noise, you'll also have problems.

Cable is also subject to line noise issues - but they are harder to troubleshoot, you need to talk to the provider.

Other things to consider:

  • Can the server you're downloading from - and all the links in between - support a sustained 7Mbps?

  • Is your router actually rated to handle speeds up to 7Mbits? If it's older, it might not. Consider a firmware upgrade, or a replacement. And just because your router is a gigabit router doesn't mean that it's interface to the internet (WAN port) is capable of the 7Mbits you should be getting.

  • Got a software firewall? These can interfere, because each packet is usually examined. That takes time - making transfers slower.

Also note that 7mbps is a shade under 700kB/second - you should ideally be seing transfer rates of about 680-700kB/sec (roughly)

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Tip: It's traditional to use small b to mean bits, and big B to mean bytes, to prevent confusion about the units. Also recommend you use big M for mega / million, according to Systeme Internationale standard prefixes. Small m is for milli / thousandth. See – Chris W. Rea Aug 8 '09 at 0:43

First, connect your DSL modem directly to your computer to eliminate any problems you might be having with your router.

Then, try to verify your download/upload speeds. Select a server which is close to your location. This will eliminate any problems you might be having with individual web sites or other Internet routing problems.

You may not get 7 Mbps but you should get a reasonable percentage (right now, I am getting 6.67 Mbps over a 7 Mbps service). If you are not happy, call your Internet provider and have someone come out and test your signal strength and connection speed. There are lots of things they can do to improve your connection.

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My speed is about the same when bypassing the router, Robert. Thanks for the link. – JimDel Aug 8 '09 at 2:34

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