I have to admit that I’ve made an about face on this issue: earlier in the year I was arguing that bandwidth caps weren’t a big deal, because most people never went over them, but since then I’ve done some research on the bandwidth caps in place and am appalled at the trend I’ve seen: bandwidth caps at one of the major ISPs in my part of Canada have either stayed the same, or gone up moderately, while prices have either stayed the same or gone up. This isn’t the typical trend we’re used to with technology, where prices go down over time and the functionality/performance goes up. I’m all for companies making money, but there’s something very wrong with the current state of competition in Internet access in Canada – we have among the slowest and most expensive Internet access in the world, and that needs to change.
Whenever bandwidth is discussed, there’s always lots of finger pointing because there are so many variables, and players involved, that it’s rarely a simple issue. My particular bandwidth bugaboo this morning? I was ticked off that Dropbox [referral] was only uploading at 10 KB/s. I left a 900 MB transfer running all night and it wasn’t finished in the morning, and that’s when I discovered the awful speed. My first instinct was to point a finger at Dropbox, thinking there was some sort of bandwidth throttling going on. I did a speed test with a tool my ISP provides (speedtest.shaw.ca) and was shocked to see 1.7 Mbps downloads and 107 kbps uploads (Figure 1). It’s normally 20x that on downloads and 10x that on uploads, so I knew something was wrong beyond just Dropbox. Continue reading Busting Bandwidth Bugaboos: Troubleshooting ISP Speed Problems