Global Internet Speeds – A study, and a little bit of a rant

I know this isn’t the usual type of post I usually put on here, and I’m also aware I’ve been neglecting this recently. A lot. I know – I’m working on that! But anyway.

I was recently linked to an infographic with regards to a study on global internet speeds – where’s fastest, cheapest, best bang-for-your-buck, etc etc. Sure, there’s loads of these around, but it’s always interesting to participate in them, learn about what these various infographics are saying, and compare them. Also, some of the statistics they use to compare country to country can sometimes be astonishing.

Here’s the infographic I was linked to originally;

Internet Connectivity Infographic


For a while now, I’ve been participating in a global speed-test/quality study, run by SamKnows. It basically consists of a “white box” attached to your home network which runs speed tests every so often, and reports on it live in a provided dashboard, and monthly by email. The “white box” is simply a TP-Link wireless router with custom firmware – nothing special. This was the report I got through my email today;

SamKnows report card - May 2013

Coupled with a test I ran a little earlier on an un-loaded line:


It comes in pretty much on the money. The only downside to this is that my line is *rated* at 80mbit – BT’s Infinity2 product. Now, I have some technical reasons as to why I’m not getting the full 80mbit (or nowhere near it for that matter – line length mainly, doesn’t play very well with VDSL2), so these results can’t really be used to slate BT’s internet service. The 45mbit or so that I get (bear in mind I’m also running a business-grade line), is top quality, and BT’s engineers are all over it when something goes wrong. What I do detest though is the so-called “up-to” adverts. “LOOK! YOU CAN GET THIS AMAZING 20/24/40/80MBIT SERVICE FOR A SILLY CHEAP PRICE (maybe)”.

Or “unlimited” and “Fair Usage Policies”. Don’t even get me started.

What are your experiences? Post some speed tests in the comments and tell us what speed service you were actually sold. Do you ever get anywhere near your stated line speed? What I’m also interested to know is how much does this differ on cable-based services? Having never lived in a cable area, I’m a bit oblivious to the technology behind it. Let us know!

3 replies on “Global Internet Speeds – A study, and a little bit of a rant”

  1. While i do often get higher sporadically, i thought i’d post this at 20:20 which as far as i know is a ‘peak time’ for most home users to watch clips of animals on youtube and upload pics to their facebook.

    Couple of years ago we also had a BT business line ( so long ago infact, it was an ISDN2 Line) since then we’ve always used VirginMedia cable and we have a very cheap plussnet ADSL link as a backup, in case the cable link dies , which it has done on occasion.

    Total price for the office running 10 work stations and a couple of remote desktop servers for external usage is about £60 a month inc.VAT, while the original ISDN2 (4mbitdown/4mbitup) line from BT Business was over £200 a month..

    My two cents/ermm pence is even with rock solid SLAs from your business package , taking two Internet providers (running on different systems, ADSL Vs Cable) at really competitive price can save you headaches and thousands per year.

    Plus it gives you the chance to explore your geeky side setting up an dual core dual NIC linux box ( ours runs untangle ).

    I enjoyed reading your notes and tip bits on magento, please continue to post more insights and info as you discover them.

  2. hmm, your site clipped out the html for the attached image, it showed 102Mbit down 9mbit up at 8pm 27th June
    It generaly runs at 95mbit to 120mbit down and from anything around 7mbit to 11mbit up.

    the actual package is the ‘100mbit’ which on paper should be 100mbit / 10mbit

    You mentioned ‘fair usage’ and i must also add, i did get a letter from virgin media a year ago.
    I had just finished running multiple backups from 7 differant web and database servers ( i downloaded 450GB in the weekend ).

    The wrote to me to ask as i had downloaded so much i was in their top 1% of all downloaders, i might be affecting other users access, and if i could restrict my massive downloads to a time of the day that was considered off peak.

    This is what i consider to be ‘fair usage’ and was happy to comply with their requests. Scheduling ongoing backup tasks to start at 2am instead of 5pm when i left the ofice.

    Fair Play i think.

  3. Hi Alistair,
    Thanks for sharing your stats with us. Sounds like VirginMedia are quite flexible on their FUP’s – I guess if you present a good enough reason for transferring a serious amount of data, and do it in a manner that can’t really affect anyone else, then they’ve no reason to complain. And with 102mbit downstream, why wouldn’t you copy your backups off site to your location? Even when I had ADSL2 (at around 19.5mbit) I was doing that, then again there wasn’t 450Gb of data to copy, but it was a seriously comparable amount for the line speed anyway.
    Fair play to them indeed.
    On your comments about taking providers on 2 different mediums – I would, if I lived in a cabled area. As I’m not, I’m stuck with phone line based technologies. Whereas now I have a VDSL based service (FTTC), taking an ADSL service would protected from VDSL equipment failure, but if some lunatic drives into the telephone pole, that’s the end of that! I actually have a dual-WAN router (Draytek v2920n), but only use one of the WAN ports – for obvious reasons. Facility’s there if I need it – I just doubt I ever will. But you never know!

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