Technology Tips – Published August 2018 in the Guide and Digest
By Don Trauger – Kennett
Several months ago residents were informed through meetings and various emails as to the specifications concerning the FIOS transition. One of the specifications was the Internet connection speed residents would have. The higher the number the faster web pages, downloaded files and movie streaming would load into the computer resulting in faster and smoother Internet operation. The 150/150 (download/upload) specification is accurate and consistent with FIOS in Hershey’s Mill. However, this specification is only valid when your device is connected to the Verizon router via an Ethernet cable. If you connect to the Internet via a wireless connection (Wi-Fi) this specification does not apply. This is due to the architecture of Wi-Fi which is completely different from a wired connection. Some issues that come into play are the distance your Wi-Fi device is from the router, interference from your neighbors operating on the same frequency or channel, the hardware inside your device and other more subtle technical issues. Don’t confuse the Verizon FIOS ONT box with the router. The ONT box is wall mounted and has green lights, the router has a single white light on the front at the top.
Now to really confuse things, there are actually 2 connection speeds involved with a Wi-Fi connection. The first is the 150/150 speed coming into the router from Verizon FIOS. This is fixed per the bulk contract between Hershey’s Mill and Verizon. This speed may be higher if you opted for it during sign-up. The second speed is the Wi-Fi speed between your device and the Wi-FI portion of the Verizon FIOS router. This is the one to observe as your device is constantly adjusting itself to maximize a fast and stable connection. To check this open the Control Panel and then click Network and Sharing Center. The Control Panel can be accessed by typing “co” (no quotes) in the “Type here to search” field in the lower left corner of the Dektop screen for Windows 10 then pressing the Enter key. In Category view click on “View network status and tasks” or in “Large icon” view click “Network and Sharing Center”. Next, across from “Connections:” click your Internet connection. The “Speed:” number you see represents a combination of the issues mentioned in the first paragraph. To test place your wireless device next to the router and observe the number. If it maxes out at 150 Mbps then your hardware may be limiting a higher number. Don’t confuse this number with the 150/150 FIOS number. Newer computers with up to date components can theoretically achieve up to 450 Mbps under this test although 300 Mbps is more relistic. Even if you see a Speed: number above 150 Mbps you won’t get a faster speed because the FIOS speed is set at 150 Mbps. The bottom line is that anything above 54 Mbps can give you a satisfactory network experience although higher is better. Below 54 Mbps may also work satisfactorily but it will be somewhat slower in downloading information.
In addition there are 2 web sites I recommend that can check your download/upload speeds. Keep in mind that when running a web based speed test it combines both the base FIOS speed and the speed between you device and router. One is www.speedtest.net. Click on “Change Server” and select “New Castle, De. – Comcast” then click “Go”. It seems the Comcast server provides a more accurate speed test than the one from Line Systems. The other is from Verizon. The address is: https://www.verizon.com/SpeedTest/learnspeedtest.aspx.
Discussion and possible fixes regarding slow Internet speed will take place at our PC Club meeting on the Tuesday, August 21 at 7 PM upstairs in the Community Center.