National Capital FreeNet / Libertel de la capitale nationale

DSL speed

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DSL service is provided to NCF members with a speed of "up to 6 MB/s download and 800 KB/s upload". This means that it can be less than that speed, for reasons that are out of NCF's control. NCF doesn't want to provide slower than optimal DSL service to members, because it doesn't make people happy.
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[[File:Speedofme.png|right|thumb|300px|A speed test on [http://speedof.me/ speedof.me], showing a good result for a 6.016 MB/s and 800 KB/s profile.]]
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DSL service is provided to NCF members with an "up to" speed for both download and upload. This means that it can be less than that speed, for reasons that are out of NCF's control.  
There are a myriad of factors that affect the actual speed of your DSL connection. This article will attempt to address the main ones.
There are a myriad of factors that affect the actual speed of your DSL connection. This article will attempt to address the main ones.
==How much speed are you getting?==
==How much speed are you getting?==
-
This is easy to determine. There are two speeds that are relevant:
+
Don't rely on subjective appraisals that some websites are loading slowly to determine that your speed is slow. It is very common that the speed limiter is the server at the other end. For instance, news video websites can be very slow in the evenings, because many people are trying to download the videos all at once.
-
* Your line profile speed, which your modem detects and records in its line stats. [[Line stats (DSL)]] shows you how to find out what you modem records the line profile as.
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Your achieved DSL speed should be objectively measured, which is easy to do. There are two speeds that are relevant:
 +
 
 +
* Your line profile speed, which your modem detects and records in its line stats. [[Line stats (DSL)]] shows you how to find out what your modem records the line profile as.
* Your actual achieved speed, though running a [[Speed test (DSL)|speed test]].
* Your actual achieved speed, though running a [[Speed test (DSL)|speed test]].
==Line profile speeds==
==Line profile speeds==
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Why would your line profile be set below the maximum? Because your distance from Bell's switch (central office) or the quality of Bell's lines to your house cannot support more speed. DSL signal degrades with more distance from the switch and distances over 5 km tend to be very marginal for DSL signals. Even closer distances can result in instability of signals and loss of connection at higher speeds. The cure for this is to slow the speed down to prevent disconnections.
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Why would your line profile be set below the maximum? Because your distance from Bell's DSL equipment or the quality of Bell's lines to your house cannot support a higher speed. DSL signal degrades with distance from the DSL equipment and distances over 5 km tend to be very marginal for DSL signals. Even shorter distances can result in service instability and loss of connection at higher speeds. The cure for this is to slow down the speed to prevent disconnections.
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You can get some idea of your distance from the switch and whether distance is an issue for your location, by checking your [[Line stats (DSL)|line attenuation]]. If the attenuation is high then you are far from the switch and a lower profile is probably called for to prevent frequent disconnections.
+
You can get some idea of your distance from the DSL equipment and whether distance is an issue for your location, by checking your [[Line stats (DSL)|line attenuation]]. If the attenuation is high then you are far from the DSL equipment and a lower profile is probably called for to prevent frequent disconnections.
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You can see your stats as seen by NCF [https://www.ncf.ca/ncf/home/tools/dslLineStats.jsp here]. Note the date on that page that says when they were collected.
==Why don't speed test results match the profile?==
==Why don't speed test results match the profile?==
-
You will rarely see your profile speed as a download speed on a speed test. There is an "overhead" on DSL speeds that means that achieved speeds are usually limited to about 85% of the profile speed. If you have a 6.016 MB/s download profile speed this will mean ideally you should see speed tests turn in results of about 5.1 MB/s. Similarly with upload speeds on a profile of 800 KB/s upload profile expect to see the speed test turning in a result of 680 KB/s.
+
You will rarely see your profile speed as a download speed on a speed test. There is a service "overhead" on all DSL speeds that means that achieved speeds are usually limited to about 85% of the profile speed. If you have a 6.016 Mb/s download profile speed this will mean ideally you should see speed tests turn in results of about 5.1 Mb/s. Similarly with upload speeds on a profile of 800 Kb/s upload profile expect to see the speed test turning in a result of 680 Kb/s.
==What if the speed test shows slow speed?==
==What if the speed test shows slow speed?==
-
If you are on a profile of 6.016 MB/s and you are seeing speed test results over 4 MB/s in real world conditions that is normal. If you are getting download speeds in the range of 1-3 MB/s then that indicates a problem.  
+
If you are on a profile of 6.016 Mb/s and you are seeing speed test results over 4 Mb/s in real world conditions that is normal. If you are getting download speeds in the range of 3 Mb/s or slower then that may indicate a problem.  
It could be due to any one of a number of problems:
It could be due to any one of a number of problems:
 +
 +
===Network congestion===
 +
If you get expected speeds in the morning and late at night, but experience slower speeds in the evenings and on weekends then the likely culprit is network congestion. NCF has investigated the problem in 2013 and found that there was network congestion between the NCF network and the Bell Network at the aggregation point.
 +
 +
On Thursday 12 December 2013 NCF took steps that improved the situation, but didn't entirely solve it. On 30 April 2014 NCF took further steps to reduce the effects of evening network congestion and provide for future growth. On 26 August 2014 NCF gained an expanded pipeline that allowed normal speeds 24 hours a day for members.
 +
 +
Today NCF increases its bandwidth on  regular basis to keep up with member demand, but slowdowns still occur on the internet beyond NCF, as [http://www.nature.com/news/the-bandwidth-bottleneck-that-is-throttling-the-internet-1.20392 this article] explains.
===Other users===
===Other users===
-
When you did the speed test were you the only person using your internet connection? Someone else in the house watching a video, streaming audio or playing a game will eat up bandwidth and give you a slow speed test result. Try retesting when you are sure no one else is on line through your modem.
+
When you did the speed test were you the only person using your internet connection? If someone else in the house is watching a video, streaming audio or is playing a game, it will consume bandwidth and give you a slow speed test result. Try retesting when you are sure no one else is on line through your modem.
Are you running your wireless unencrypted? Are people outside your home using your bandwidth? Running your wireless unencrypted is not recommended.
Are you running your wireless unencrypted? Are people outside your home using your bandwidth? Running your wireless unencrypted is not recommended.
===Wireless===
===Wireless===
-
Speeds seen when speed testing via wireless are almost always slower than via ethernet, unless the computer connected wirelessly is very close to the modem. Even with an "N" protocol wireless router a laptop being used for a speed test two floors above the modem will typically see half the expected speeds. With "G" protocol wireless it may be one quarter the expected speed, or worse, if there is interference from other nearby homes.
+
Speeds seen when speed testing via wireless connection are almost always slower than via wired Ethernet connection, unless the device connected wirelessly is very close to the router. Even with an "N" protocol wireless router a laptop being used for a speed test two floors above the router will typically see half the expected speeds. With "G" protocol wireless it may be one quarter the expected speed, or worse, if there is interference from other nearby networks.
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If you are not getting good speed on your wirelessly connected device then try connecting it via ethernet cable and see if that makes a difference.
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If you are not getting good speed on your wirelessly connected device then try connecting it via an Ethernet cable and see if that makes a difference.
===Modem===
===Modem===
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Any modem should give comparable speeds on the same line, unless it is starting to fail. One possible sign of a failing modem is loss of speed, especially once it is warned up and has been running for an hour or two.
+
Any modem should give comparable speeds on the same line, unless the modem is starting to fail. One possible sign of a failing modem is loss of speed, especially once it is warmed up and has been running for an hour or two.
Poor ventilation for a modem can cause it to overheat and lose speed, so ensure that your modem has good airflow around it.  
Poor ventilation for a modem can cause it to overheat and lose speed, so ensure that your modem has good airflow around it.  
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===Browser===
===Browser===
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Running a speed test on an old browser will often turn in slow results, because the browser is slow. Make sure you have the latest version of your browser to ensure that the speed test is not being limited.  
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Running a speed test on an old [[browser]] will often turn in slow results, because the browser is slow. Make sure you have the latest version of your browser to ensure that the speed test is not being limited.  
Some browsers don't necessarily work well or fast and can produce slow results, particularly some versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Try a better browser:
Some browsers don't necessarily work well or fast and can produce slow results, particularly some versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Try a better browser:
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*[https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/ Google Chrome]
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{{Recommended browsers}}
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*[http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/fx/ Mozilla Firefox]
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*[http://www.seamonkey-project.org/ Mozilla SeaMonkey]
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*[http://www.opera.com/browser/ Opera]
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*[http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron_download.php SRWare Iron]
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===Operating system===
===Operating system===
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An operating system on your computer that has errors and is breaking down and malfunctioning will not give good speed test results. Microsoft Windows, in particular,  
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An operating system on your computer that has errors and is breaking down and malfunctioning will not give good speed test results. Microsoft Windows, in particular, breaks down over time and can turn in poor results.
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breaks down over time and can turn in poor results.  
+
-
This can easily be tested by running a speedtest on another computer and seeing if the results are different, or booting up another operating system and testing using that. A simple, RAM-based operating system, like [http://www.puppylinux.com/ Puppy Linux] is easy to boot into RAM and, with its included Firefox browser, conduct a speedtest. If the result is faster than normal then operating system is probably the culprit.
+
This can easily be tested by running a speed test on another computer and seeing if the results are different, or booting up another operating system and testing using that. A simple, RAM-based operating system, like [http://www.puppylinux.org/ Puppy Linux] is easy to boot into RAM and, with its included Firefox browser, conduct a speed test. If the result is faster than normal, then the operating system is probably the culprit.
===Computer hardware===
===Computer hardware===
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It is also possible that your computer's network or wireless card is failing and producing slow speeds. The easiest way to test this is by using another computer to conduct a speedtest and then compare the results. Different computers connecting the same way and using the same speed test should see similar results.
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It is also possible that your computer's network or wireless card is failing and producing slow speeds. The easiest way to test this is by using another device to conduct a speed test and then compare the results. Different computers connecting the same way and using the same speed test should see similar results.
===If nothing works===
===If nothing works===
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If none of these hints manages to resolve unexplained slow speed then your next step should be to read [[Troubleshooting (DSL)]].
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If none of these hints manages to resolve unexplained slow speed, then your next step should be to read [[Troubleshooting (DSL)]].
==See also==
==See also==
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[[Line stats (DSL)]]
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*[[Line stats (DSL)]]
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[[Speed test (DSL)]]
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*[[Speed test (DSL)]]
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[[Troubleshooting (DSL)]]
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*[[Troubleshooting (DSL)]]
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 +
==External links==
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*[http://www.nature.com/news/the-bandwidth-bottleneck-that-is-throttling-the-internet-1.20392 The bandwidth bottleneck that is throttling the Internet], by Jeff Hecht, Nature
[[Category:DSL]]
[[Category:DSL]]

Current revision as of 16:00, 10 December 2017

A speed test on speedof.me, showing a good result for a 6.016 MB/s and 800 KB/s profile.

DSL service is provided to NCF members with an "up to" speed for both download and upload. This means that it can be less than that speed, for reasons that are out of NCF's control.

There are a myriad of factors that affect the actual speed of your DSL connection. This article will attempt to address the main ones.

Contents

How much speed are you getting?

Don't rely on subjective appraisals that some websites are loading slowly to determine that your speed is slow. It is very common that the speed limiter is the server at the other end. For instance, news video websites can be very slow in the evenings, because many people are trying to download the videos all at once.

Your achieved DSL speed should be objectively measured, which is easy to do. There are two speeds that are relevant:

  • Your line profile speed, which your modem detects and records in its line stats. Line stats (DSL) shows you how to find out what your modem records the line profile as.
  • Your actual achieved speed, though running a speed test.

Line profile speeds

Why would your line profile be set below the maximum? Because your distance from Bell's DSL equipment or the quality of Bell's lines to your house cannot support a higher speed. DSL signal degrades with distance from the DSL equipment and distances over 5 km tend to be very marginal for DSL signals. Even shorter distances can result in service instability and loss of connection at higher speeds. The cure for this is to slow down the speed to prevent disconnections.

You can get some idea of your distance from the DSL equipment and whether distance is an issue for your location, by checking your line attenuation. If the attenuation is high then you are far from the DSL equipment and a lower profile is probably called for to prevent frequent disconnections.

You can see your stats as seen by NCF here. Note the date on that page that says when they were collected.

Why don't speed test results match the profile?

You will rarely see your profile speed as a download speed on a speed test. There is a service "overhead" on all DSL speeds that means that achieved speeds are usually limited to about 85% of the profile speed. If you have a 6.016 Mb/s download profile speed this will mean ideally you should see speed tests turn in results of about 5.1 Mb/s. Similarly with upload speeds on a profile of 800 Kb/s upload profile expect to see the speed test turning in a result of 680 Kb/s.

What if the speed test shows slow speed?

If you are on a profile of 6.016 Mb/s and you are seeing speed test results over 4 Mb/s in real world conditions that is normal. If you are getting download speeds in the range of 3 Mb/s or slower then that may indicate a problem.

It could be due to any one of a number of problems:

Network congestion

If you get expected speeds in the morning and late at night, but experience slower speeds in the evenings and on weekends then the likely culprit is network congestion. NCF has investigated the problem in 2013 and found that there was network congestion between the NCF network and the Bell Network at the aggregation point.

On Thursday 12 December 2013 NCF took steps that improved the situation, but didn't entirely solve it. On 30 April 2014 NCF took further steps to reduce the effects of evening network congestion and provide for future growth. On 26 August 2014 NCF gained an expanded pipeline that allowed normal speeds 24 hours a day for members.

Today NCF increases its bandwidth on regular basis to keep up with member demand, but slowdowns still occur on the internet beyond NCF, as this article explains.

Other users

When you did the speed test were you the only person using your internet connection? If someone else in the house is watching a video, streaming audio or is playing a game, it will consume bandwidth and give you a slow speed test result. Try retesting when you are sure no one else is on line through your modem.

Are you running your wireless unencrypted? Are people outside your home using your bandwidth? Running your wireless unencrypted is not recommended.

Wireless

Speeds seen when speed testing via wireless connection are almost always slower than via wired Ethernet connection, unless the device connected wirelessly is very close to the router. Even with an "N" protocol wireless router a laptop being used for a speed test two floors above the router will typically see half the expected speeds. With "G" protocol wireless it may be one quarter the expected speed, or worse, if there is interference from other nearby networks.

If you are not getting good speed on your wirelessly connected device then try connecting it via an Ethernet cable and see if that makes a difference.

Modem

Any modem should give comparable speeds on the same line, unless the modem is starting to fail. One possible sign of a failing modem is loss of speed, especially once it is warmed up and has been running for an hour or two.

Poor ventilation for a modem can cause it to overheat and lose speed, so ensure that your modem has good airflow around it.

If you suspect your modem may be the issue contact the NCF office to arrange to borrow a loaner modem to take home and test out your connection.

Browser

Running a speed test on an old browser will often turn in slow results, because the browser is slow. Make sure you have the latest version of your browser to ensure that the speed test is not being limited.

Some browsers don't necessarily work well or fast and can produce slow results, particularly some versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Try a better browser:

Operating system

An operating system on your computer that has errors and is breaking down and malfunctioning will not give good speed test results. Microsoft Windows, in particular, breaks down over time and can turn in poor results.

This can easily be tested by running a speed test on another computer and seeing if the results are different, or booting up another operating system and testing using that. A simple, RAM-based operating system, like Puppy Linux is easy to boot into RAM and, with its included Firefox browser, conduct a speed test. If the result is faster than normal, then the operating system is probably the culprit.

Computer hardware

It is also possible that your computer's network or wireless card is failing and producing slow speeds. The easiest way to test this is by using another device to conduct a speed test and then compare the results. Different computers connecting the same way and using the same speed test should see similar results.

If nothing works

If none of these hints manages to resolve unexplained slow speed, then your next step should be to read Troubleshooting (DSL).

See also

External links