Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is my ISP Throttling?

I discovered a fascinating thing this week; I think.

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 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.

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