By Mike Dempsey
Posted on 2017-02-24
Ok, first this will probably have to be a series of articles but I’m going to start with the big one. Now that Google has forced the rest of the internet service providers (ISP) in Austin to start upgrading their networks, everyone is going to start seeing the weaknesses in their networks.
***The biggest issue that will be coming up is that as the big 4 ISPs (Spectrum formerly Time Warner, AT&T, Google and Grande) start to get past 200Mbps and 300Mbps speeds, it will be possible that the bottleneck in the internet speeds starts to be your Wi-Fi connection or your wiring. Older Cat 5 wiring is only rated to do 100Mbps but I have seen many systems still make use of the 1Gbps speeds (1000Mpbs) and not have any problems. If your main connection is using a Wi-Fi network and it is still using an 802.11g router, you will not be able to take advantage of anything faster than about 100Mbps. Yes, it will be rated for higher but your real world speeds will be down around 100Mbps. 802.11n can go to about 450Mbps but that is in a perfectly tuned environment with little or no interference. Most people will top out around 250Mbps or 300Mbps.
The second issue is that the other pieces of equipment have to be up to speed. If your router, your wifi access point or your computers are not up to speed, you’ll be paying for speed you aren’t getting. A 3 or 4-year-old Linksys router may only top out around 50Mbps and so if you are getting Spectrum's faster internet service that goes up to 300Mbps then you’ll only see about 1/6 of the available speed. If you are using an older 2Wire router from AT&T that only has 802.11g then you’ll only see about 1/6 of the internet speeds that AT&T is going to start to offer shortly. Even a 5 or 6-year-old computer may only have an 802.11g card in it and only be able to see similar speeds.
The main point that I want to bring up is that if you are going to want to take advantage of the higher speeds here in Austin, you may need to upgrade some of your wiring, your wireless access points, your router or your modem. The ISPs drug their heels about getting faster speeds until they were forced to go faster by Google’s announcement and we are all going to be beneficiaries soon. It will probably not be in the next few weeks but it will be in the next year or two that we should all be seeing faster Internet. Spectrum is already rolling out 100 and 300Mbps packages. Grande is already offering 1Gbps speeds in some parts of Austin and AT&T will be rolling out their 300Mbps connections shortly and then follow up with their Gbps offering soon after that. Google has done us all a favor by just making the 1Gbps announcement and shaking up the market and even if you don’t move over to them or it is going to take them 4 years to get to your house or office, you still should see the benefits as long as your equipment can handle the faster speeds.