After a full scan of my system I now think that it is the ISP. I have used super antispyware, Avast, Norton AntiVirus and Spybot Search & Destroy. The Internet connection is still slow.

And the truth is we have recently upgraded the connection from 512 kbit/s to 768 kbit/s. And I get a .25 Mbit/s at speedtest.net which is equivalent to 256 kbit/s. It's not even half of the advertised speed.

Is it normal for ISP's to just limit your bandwidth if you are always downloading something from the Internet? Are they entitled to do this?

  • 2
    contact to your ISP. – Ye Lin Aung Mar 14 '10 at 11:39

There are lots of things that can affect your speed. Some are under your control, some are not. I don't know an ISP that describes the speed tiers as anything other than "up to X Mbps." If you see low speeds, first make sure your machine is clean, and the only way to really be sure is to do an OS reinstall. Still slow? If you use DSL, it could be the house wiring if your phone lines are old. Old, corroded connections and splices can act as high frequency filters, limiting your speed. Try different jacks for the router/modem. House wiring OK? Start complaining to the ISP until they get motivated to work the problem.

Are you always downloading something? If so, then I wouldn't be surprised if your bandwidth is being rate limited. Traffic isn't free, and ISPs have to make money, so yeah, they can limit your trips to the buffet line if your usage pattern is atypically high. Can they do this? Check your service agreement, but almost certainly your ISP's agreement has some kind of "abuse of service" section that permits rate limiting or account termination for excessive bandwidth consumption. If you really need to download 24x7, there are accounts for that. Those accounts aren't consumer accounts with consumer pricing.

  • 256 kbps x 12 hrs/day x 60 min/hr x 60 sec/min == 1.38GB/day. That's not really so bad, but check with your ISP. Ask if they have any per day or per month limits which would trigger rate limiting. – Fred Mar 14 '10 at 14:30

If you see low speeds, first make sure your machine is clean, and the only way to really be sure is to do an OS reinstall.

WOW!! Easy there cowboy!!

When you see low speeds you try another machine. You don't reinstall the OS. C'mon now! Really?

This sounds like when back in the modem days when there was no dial tone on the modem Dell techsupport would ask the unspuspecting user to use the "Recovery CD" the one that wipes the drive and reinstalls the OS with one click.

  • OK, that was a little too quick to pull the reinstall trigger. But if you have doubts about OS integrity, a reinstall is the only way to really be sure. I agree that trying a different machine would be useful to see if the problem is the network or the box. – Fred Mar 16 '10 at 19:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.