Internet connections involve a large number of different technologies working together. The application you run is one element, the operating systems ability to liaise between applications and hardware is another. The network card’s driver software and physical capabilities are just the factors that are on your computer. Next you have type of connection, speed of service, distance of correspondent and speed and load on all intermediate routing hardware. At the other end, the efficiency and demands on the server you are connected to will also affect your surfing experience.
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An Internet connection involves at least two computers and a lot of routing hardware between. Routers switches and hubs create networks by linking to each other down cables. Each network devices requires a processor to operate, and so the issue of process speed for good connections does not only concern your computer. There will be many processors involved in each Internet connections and bad performance by any one of these will kill you speed.
When you open lots of applications on your computer, you may find everything suddenly gets very slow. Audio or video applications can especially use up your processor’s time. You will have experienced poor performance with your computer even when you are not connected to the Internet. You chose a specific computer at a specific price, and you carry on using it although better computers are now available. Older computers with less RAM will work slower in any situation. This is your choice. It may be a choice forced on you by financial prioritising or economic circumstances. However, the rule is simple: a newer more expensive computer is more likely to have a faster processor that can cope with the demands of home computer users modelled at the time that computer was designed.
Connecting to the Internet is a process in itself. Maintaining the connection also takes up processing time. A wireless-enabled computer or smartphone will lose processing speed to the constant polling the connection software performs to maintain a list of connectable devices in range. Wi-Fi capabilities will use up processor time, even when you are not using it. If you have a smartphone, you need to turn off Wi-Fi when you are not using it to stop it draining the battery.
When you surf the Internet, you do that via an application, like a browser, or a chat window. This application takes up processing power just to present you with a pleasant interface. The application uses up processing power by invoking operating system utilities to contact the network adapter, which itself has to run software to be contactable. The network adapter has to convert the computer-compatible data transfer system (parallel) into network compatible data signals (serial voltage variations) which needs processing power to calculate. Incoming replies also drain the processor through the demands of the network adapter, the operating system and the application. This is why a small, or out of date processor can slow down response times when you are surfing the Internet.
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