How to Optimize Your Internet Experience on Low Bandwidth or Shared Network

By Chongchen Saelee

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have lightspeed Internet connections (at least, not yet), so if you’re on lower bandwidths or a shared Internet network, then your Internet experience might be reliant on how much bandwidth is dedicated to you. Here are some tricks (or compromises) you can do in order to prevent yourself going to the insane asylum.

  • Know exactly what you’re looking for
    The Internet is all about the transfer of data, specifically data called “packets”. The more information you want, the more packets need to be sent back and forth over your connection (wired or wirelessly). So knowing exactly what you want will limit the amount of latency in waiting and making useless requests and receiving unwanted downloads.

    For example, if you’re in the mood for a good tune, and you have to use YouTube, and the video isn’t important, then you can turn down the video’s resolution to the lowest because the audio will stream at the same quality. That way, you’re not downloading extra video data. Otherwise, go to a website that only streams audio.

  • Disable fancy stuffs
    If you’re only looking for information and don’t require the additional bombardment of advertisements and animations, then you can find ways to disable certain plugins from running in your browser. A very well known cumbersome technology called Flash can be disabled to avoid downloading ads, videos, and other heavy multimedia junk that you might not need.

    But let’s not pick on Flash alone. There are a lot of other plugins that claim to do this or that, especially in the name of added security, but unless you know exactly what it’s doing, odds are you are pretty safe. You want to run your browser as fast as possible without additional processes slowing down your experience. That’s assuming you are a safe Internet user to begin with and not going to dangerous websites making yourself a victim to online predators.

  • Use the Internet when others aren’t on it
    It may seem like easy logic, but for those who aren’t informed on how the Internet works, you wouldn’t know that there are limits to how much data is transferred in your browsing experience. If you are using a shared network, then you have to divide up that bandwidth with every live user. So the more users on the network, the likelihood of you getting a smaller bandwidth increases, and the experience will suck. So if you really need to hog the bandwidth, use it when no one else needs it.
  • If all fails, get higher speed Internet service
    If you just don’t have the patience, or you just have money to blow through, then you can always upgrade your Internet service to higher bandwidths. But keep in mind, this might involve installing new computer hardware, or new external hardware (like a satelite or phone cables), which also adds to the cost.
  • Get off the Internet
    And if you’re just not getting what you’re looking for in an online experience, get off the Internet. Imagine how people found recreation before the World Wide Web. You can attend live events, meet real people, have REAL SEX, you name it. The world won’t end without you in the Matrix. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through life. There are many alternatives to problems. This just might be the best one for you if the Internet “toy” isn’t working to provide you happiness.

I hope this helps you out. We can’t all become Internet zombies. We still need people to run the beast, fix the downed phone lines during storms, etc. The Internet is only as helpful as we want to believe it is. It can’t make me a pizza through the screen or keyboard (even though you can actually order it online). You get my point.

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