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Network Speeds: Frustration to Elation

Frustration had arisen for a client recently when they felt they had tried almost everything to get better performance out of their network. On paper, it all seemed fine. They had a router, switch, and modem that all should have been capable of much better speeds. They even had seven wireless access points dispersed to better cover the building with a wireless signal. But they were only seeing a "trickle" of Internet speed (see picture above) where it mattered most: on iPhones, laptops, and their in-room streaming devices. The most frustrating part was that they had multiple IT specialists over to diagnose the situation. A network configuration here, a setting change there, and then they would leave again, claiming their efforts had remedied the issue. The problem was, the issues were never truly fixed.

You may be able to relate to this story. You may pay for a given download and upload speed from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) at home or your business, but the speeds you are seeing at the device level are not coming close to this expectation. You are not getting what you pay for! Few things are more frustrating than under-delivery on a promise of strong performance. In this clients' case, they were paying for 600 Mbps download speed, and 35 Mbps upload speed. In reality, they were getting a measly 13 Mbps download and 11 Mbps upload, just a fraction of what was expected.

I was able to step into this situation of warranted frustration and take a deeper dive into these speed issues. After monitoring speeds and tweaking a few settings, it became clear that perhaps it wasn't even a configuration issue, but a network hardware bottleneck. After this initial optimization of the old equipment, I was able to eke out some better performance, shown in the speed test below:

Improved speeds after the initial optimization.

This was much improved, taking the download speed from 13 to almost 60 Mbps. The upload was up too, from 11 to 35 Mbps. While this was a drastic improvement, and I could have possibly walked away with this solution in place, I wasn't done. It was clear that there were still major bottlenecks in the equipment, and good enough just wasn't going to cut it. I continued digging.

The new network hardware!

I specced out a recommended new network stack featuring Ubiquiti's Dream Machine, 16 port PoE (Power of Ethernet) switch, and seven new long-range access points, with much better wireless AC technology. We were on our way to faster Internet.

Once the new equipment was installed, I set to work optimizing settings to make for an optimal wireless experience for devices throughout the building. Speeds continued to improve, as we inched closer to the original expectation of fast Internet. After testing and tweaking some more, the finished product was put to the test. A new speed test resulted in the following:

WiFi speeds after the upgrade.

Hugely improved!

474 Mbps download speed on a wireless device! Now we're talking, I thought. I performed another speed test at the router itself and finally saw what I set out to see:

Final speeds at the router. Super fast!

Both the download and upload speeds were at the advertised level for the first time. Success! While there will be some limitations to speed based on the wireless technology being used on individual devices, the building was now blanketed in secure, blazing-fast wireless Internet access. Mission accomplished!

Is slow Internet holding you or your business back? Take back the speed that you are paying for, and get an assessment. Fast, frustration-free networking could be in your near future. Please reach out to me info@technellogic if you are in the greater Missoula area and you want to make this story a reality for you, too.


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