Is Your ISP Throttling Your Internet Connection?

Have you experienced downloading a huge file – perhaps a ZIP file containing thousands of high-res photos or a full-length movie video file – only to encounter a download error?

Aaaarrgh! That kind of experience would be so frustrating.

More often than not, the error may be traced to poor Internet connection, which disrupts the normal course of downloading files and browsing web pages.

Based on a survey reported by BGR, Internet outage was considered to be the most frustrating and annoying household problem.

The Internet Health Test

On a scale of 1 (not annoying) to 10 (extremely annoying), Internet problems received a score of 8.55 by 2,500 people in the U.K., with close to 50 percent ranking the issue at 10.

Not all Internet service providers (ISPs) suck, though. Many ISPs such as Centurylink internet service make sure of connectivity and customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, some others try to cheat their customers by either scheduling intermittent interruptions in online services or throttle the connection.

Connection throttling is now an illegal act, thanks to the Net Neutrality rule approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). According to a statement by the White House, ISPs shouldn’t be able “to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.”

If you feel that your ISP is cheating their way to profit from your ignorance of Internet services, here are two quick tests to determine if your Internet connection is being throttled:

The Internet Health Test

Since the approval of Net Neutrality protection, online tests have sprung up to give web users the ability to check the stability of services offered by ISPs. You may visit The Internet Health Test to verify potential degradation of Internet connection. On the page, just click “Start the test”. A separate small window will pop up to conduct the test.

“This test measures whether interconnection points are experiencing problems. It runs speed measurements from your (the test user’s) ISP, across multiple interconnection points, thus detecting degraded performance.” (from The Internet Health Test)

The online checker runs on Measurement Lab (M-Lab) technology, an online initiative by Google and several academic organizations to make things easier for online users to check their connectivity.

Glasnost

Another similar service called Glasnost checks if your ISP restricts your access to Peer2Peer (P2P) or torrent downloads. Some ISPs may throttle your connection in this manner, and this is also considered a violation of the Net Neutrality rule.

This online test requires the latest version of Java to start, and you will be prompted if you haven’t installed one. Once your system is ready, you may choose between a simple and a full test. After a few minutes, the test results will reveal whether your ISP is blocking or throttling torrent traffic.

Note that the measurement servers at Glasnost may be overloaded at times, but you don’t have to worry because you will be automatically redirected to an alternative server. You can always try again after a few minutes if all servers are busy at the time of your testing request.

The best way to prevent throttled Internet connection is to choose an ISP that delivers uninterrupted service and a highly satisfying customer care service. You can always shift to another ISP if you aren’t satisfied with your current provider.