Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Is my ISP Throttling?
After suspecting my internet traffic was being watched, especially after reading the headlines the past nine months, I decided to finally pay for a VPN.
Over the last several weeks and months, my internet connection just seemed so slow. I used www.speedtest.net to occasionally test my connection. Sometimes my download rate was slower than my upload rate! Often, I would reboot the internet modem, my wi-fi router and even computer to see if that would fix the problem. I'd say about 75% of the time that worked. But one time nothing I did fixed the slow-down.
After a few days of no Netflix and slow web-site loading, I called my ISP. From their end, "everything looked fine." I ended up powering down everything and then bringing things on-line; first the modem, then the wi-fi router, then the laptop. It fixed it, but I was still only getting around 3 to 4 mbps. I'm paying for 15mbps.
For a few months I had been meaning to get Astrill VPN, but after doing some additional research, I decided to go with Private Internet Access.
I set it up this week. After ensuring I was satisfied with the setup, I decided to do some speed tests.
I had normally been getting around 3-10 mbps on average days and up to 15 on the best of days. After setting up the VPN, my first test came in at 28.41 down! I was shocked. I ran several other tests and have been running them off and on. I've yet to get under 28 mbps when my VPN is connected.
Then I ran another test and it was slow again ... but I discovered my VPN had disconnected. I re-connected and ran another test: 28.7 mbps down.
Now the rest of the story ... the last few times I called my ISP, just before ending the call, they would ask me if I wanted to upgrade to 30 mbps for an extra $10. I think they are throttling my connection when I'm passing un-encrypted data (i.e. no VPN).
After a little googling I found this interesting article which totally confirms it now.