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The Remote Help Expert
This probably should have been one of the first subjects covered when I started writing about computers. It is without a doubt the
most common complaint from any given user. It’s fascinating in a way when you consider that computers in general have done
nothing but get faster and faster over the years. A fast personal computer’s Central Processing Unit or CPU (the computer’s
Of course, someone will say, CPU speed is not the only factor in determining computer’s speed. True. But even so, what is
behind those seemingly contrary facts? and what, if anything, can be done about it?
The answer is big enough to be covered in more than one article, hence the “Part I”. I will cover all the ones I know, in no
particular order, in a series of articles.
I covered earlier the relationship between the amount of memory in a computer and its speed. That’s one.
Internet Connection and Speed
Here’s a good one. You’re browsing the Internet, and the website pages you are trying to access are taking forever to load. You
ask yourself, why is this computer so slow? Well, in fact, chances are it’s got nothing to do with your computer - it’s likely to be
your internet connection speed. In some cases, if your computer is connected wirelessly to the device that connects you to the
internet, it can be “internal” in that way. But most likely the problem is outside your door.
Still, I’ll cover some things you can do, internally (inside your house or office) and externally.
To assert your connection speed and see if it’s the problem, you can first measure it. Here’s the website I normally use to
measure internet connection speed: http://speedtest.net. Click on the link to go that website.
Once the website has loaded, click on the golden star, which indicates the server nearest to you. A brief test will follow that will
measure latency - how long it takes for a particle to travel to the internet server and back to your computer, download speed
(data coming into your computer from the internet like the websites you’re trying to access), and upload speed (data going from
your computer towards the internet). After a few moments it will present you with the results.
Latency (ping) is measured in ms (miliseconds), download and upload speed are measured in Megabits per second or Mbps (the
unit that measures the amount of data transmitted per unit of time).
NOTE: Be careful with the links in that website that try to lure you into downloading programs that will speed up your computer. I
don’t particularly endorse them and if you’re not an advanced user you might be over your head trying to download, install and
run such programs.
As a rule of thumb I’d say if you have less than 0.5 Mbps download speed, your connection is probably slowing you down. More
than 500 ms in latency it’d probably be noticeable when browsing.
Upload speed is not so critical for normal web browsing as it is for other activities such as uploading files to a website or playing
Remember: the subject is extensive and there are many other reasons why you computer might be seemingly slow. I’ll cover all
the others I know in future articles.
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