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Why is my Internet connection slower than the maximum speed of my modem?

Answer: It is rare that you will max out the speed of your DSL or cable modem. This is because most Internet service providers (ISPs) limit your Internet connection speed. While your cable modem may support 30 Mbps downstream, you may find that your downloads max out at 10 Mbps. The limitation is not the modem, but the ISP itself.

ISPs use a technique called "bandwidth throttling" to limit each user's connection speed. This prevents individual connections from taking up excessive amounts of bandwidth. It also allows ISPs to offer different connection speeds at different price points. Since the speed is limited at the ISP, tweaking your modem settings will most likely not improve your download or upload speeds.

Important: If your connection speed is slower than what is promised by your Internet service provider, you should contact your ISP's technical support team. They will likely have you run a series of speed tests to determine if there is a specific bottleneck that is slowing down your Internet connection. If the modem is in fact the culprit, most ISPs will send out a technician to either reconfigure or replace the modem.

Entered: September 11, 2012 – by Per Christensson

Category: Internet

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