The causes of a slow or faulty Internet service can be several: contracted speed, equipment connected simultaneously, router or modem capacity, wireless signal (in case of WiFi connection) and even the same equipment used to connect to the Internet. Of all these factors, one of them may be the internet provider, but how do you know?
To find out if your service is bad because of your internet service provider or your internet service, you will need to do several tests, such as the ones we did below, with three internet service providers in the city of Ambato (Ecuador ): Provider «T» with 40 uploads and downloads Mbps, provider «F» also with 40 Mbps «download» and «upload» and finally provider «N» with symmetric 25 Mbps.
Basically, what I’m going to do is measure the speed, latency and connection loss in these three ISPs. I will only use the popular web speedtest.net to know the speed and ping (delay) of the connection with different local and international servers (use the «Change Server» option in Speedtest to change the servers). You can do the tests with all the servers you have chosen, and finally see the results at speedtest.net/results.
I chose the servers based on a special interest: online games. Because I play a lot with people from Ecuador, Peru and the United States, I chose servers in these countries to see which provider would give me the best online experience. You don’t have to choose the same servers as me for your tests, but they need to be the same no matter what you use when testing both ISPs.
Finally, to measure the Internet signal cuts we will use the command line, something quite simple but effective.
This analysis is applicable wherever you are in the world. Of course, the figures will be different, although the values presented here will serve as a reference.
To properly measure the quality of an internet service, you need a working computer and a network or Ethernet cable to connect directly to your service operator’s modem / router. It is important to disconnect other equipment connected to the modem, as well as to prevent any equipment from connecting via WiFi.
Our company «T» is an example of an ISP that is unequal when it comes to speed. The upload and download fluctuation is huge from one server to another, which is not normal. This should not happen if no one on the network is using the service. In general, we should get a speed similar to the one we contracted. For example, in this case we are talking about a 40 Mbps plan, so normally we should see values of 39, 38, 37 Mbps, which is not the case. The 4: 1 action sold by this ISP may be a factor, but analyzing the download values of up to 5 Mbps, could we deduce that there is actually an 8: 1 action?
Our ISP «F» does much better when it comes to speed. We can see that the loading and unloading speed is constant. The download speed graph is quite stable compared to the previous ISP. A value of almost 5 Mbps in Upload escapes there, but overall it is better.
I apologize for the quality of this image, but it is only through the kindness of a friend.
Here we see two things. Download speed is unstable. In this case, it’s not that the provider is bad, but that during these tests, my friend was using the internet, watching videos and opening pages, things that affect the speed of downloading or «downloading» and, in this case, yes that the fluctuations are perfectly normal. That’s why it’s important to do this type of testing when no user is logged in.
I indicate that the ISP is not bad because we have already tested it and also the upload speed remains stable, no matter where we connect (let’s not forget that this is a 25 Mbps plan). «Upload» varies only when someone on the network uploads videos to YouTube, uploads photos to the cloud, or broadcasts data over the Internet in general.
The ping is nothing but the time it takes the data and going from our computer to the destination (for example, a server on the other side of the world) and back. You will be careful to know the ping of your Internet connection, especially for online games, where ideally you should have a ping of less than 50ms. If it is below 100 it will be acceptable, but above it will already be a headache.
We return to our company «T», which in terms of ping is also strangely irregular in some cases. There is a decent latency internationally (United States and Peru), but for some reason, locally or Ecuador, the ping increases exaggeratedly when connecting to some cities in the same country, including the city of Ambato, near Quito. and Guayaquil. This is not particularly good for me. I would suffer a lot of latency playing online with people from Ecuador.
This is a good internet connection in terms of ping. It is good both locally (in Ecuador) and internationally. It reaches a maximum of 70ms, connecting even to the United States.
Of the three Internet service providers I present here, this is the one that should have the smallest gap overall. The ping is very good and stays under 50ms even when you connect to Peru. I think this company would give me a good connection with Latin American players in general.
Loss of packages
An internet connection basically consists of transmitting and receiving data. Ideally, no data is lost, especially if we are talking about internet broadcasts (streaming) or online games, but this is not a real thing. It is normal for some packages to be lost, but this percentage should be close to zero. A packet loss of 2% or 3% should already be carefully examined. Over 5% reveal a major problem.
A good internet connection can present lost packets, but their number is negligible, as can be seen above with the internet service of the company «F». Only 5 lost packages of over 500, ie a loss that is close to 1%. Here the gateway is not even pinging as in the previous case, which means that those packets may not even get lost in the ISP infrastructure, as I will explain later. By the way, the ping time from Google with this company «F» is only 23 ms, very good compared to 60 ms for my service.
The internet company «N» is doing even better, with only 5 lost packets out of over 2000 sent, which corresponds to a loss of 0.25%. In this case, we also ping Google, so there can be no guarantee that packages are lost due to ISPs (or should I say PSI in Spanish?)
To measure packet loss you will need to go to your computer’s command line. For Windows, enter «cmd» (without the quotation marks) in the search box and press Enter. In the command line, enter the following:
ping www.google.com -t
Press Enter and let about 30 minutes pass. To cancel this test and see the results, press Ctrl + C. This way you should be able to see the number of packets sent, received, and the number of packets lost, including their percentage equivalence.
Where are the packages lost?
A simple ping to Google involves sending packets that go a long way, going from your computer to your modem, from your modem to your ISP’s servers or equipment, and from there across multiple servers on the Internet until you reach destination, which where is Google. Packet loss can occur at any of these points. We can’t prevent packet loss outside of our ISP, but we can determine if there is a problem in our home network or even in our ISP infrastructure.
The first. To determine if there is a problem with our equipment or even your provider’s modem, simply ping the modem’s IP address (which is probably the default IP, and you’ll find it in the equipment label or manual, unless Your ISP has changed it). For example, if you have a Huawei modem, its IP will probably be 192.168.100.1, so you’ll need to enter the following at the command line:
ping 192.168.100.1 -t
Also, wait a few minutes until you see that there is no packet loss, which would mean that there are no problems between your computer and your modem (at least in terms of losses). That is, there are no problems in your internal network.
The other test is to determine if there is a problem with your ISP’s network. Once the packets leave the modem at home, they must go through a device called a gateway before entering the Internet. Therefore, we will simply need to ping the IP address of that gateway. This address will definitely be found in the WAN section of your modem’s configuration, with the command «tracert google.com» (it should be the first or second IP address that appears) or by checking with your ISP. Once you have an IP your gateway, all you have to do is ping and wait to see the losses.
If after a few minutes you see some losses that you did not see in the previous ping to the modem, then it is logical to deduce that there is a problem in the infrastructure of the Internet provider.
Is my internet company good or bad?
Once you have collected the above data, you will have an idea of how good or bad your business is on the Internet. However, it is still insufficient. The quality of internet providers varies from region to region. I can’t compare a supplier in Ecuador with one in the United States. To get a realistic idea of the quality of services you have in your area, you need to compare it to other services in the same city or country, as we did here. Unfortunately, the only way to know this is through users of other companies who can perform the same tests listed here to make a comparison.
The title of this article tells how to choose the best ISP and, in this analysis, the best ISP of the three presented is the company «N», due to its overall stability in terms of speed, ping and losses. Very close is the company «F» and the least recommended is «T». This is only said at the technical level. You should add the economic analysis and determine which one offers you the most in terms of cost / benefit.
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