It happens to everyone, eventually. The ADSL, cable, or fiber-optic line connection you enjoy suddenly experiences a jump in latency and then slooooooows right down. Sometimes the problem is obvious — a loose connection, wireless network thief, or inclement weather — but sometimes the problem is harder to pinpoint, leaving you with half-loaded pages and lagged-out games.
In other words, you know your Internet speed is slow when…
You’re the Only One Moving
Maybe it’s Call of Duty: Ghost, World of Warcraft (WoW), or Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, but all of a sudden, your character is the only one moving — the rest of the world is in freeze-frame, with players running in place or stuck between animations. If you’re lucky, your connection catches up in a huge, hurried burst of bullets, magic fire, or sword strikes, but more likely you’re looking at a lockup and crash to the desktop or console menu. It’s never fun checking game latency to discover you’re running at 1,500 milliseconds or more; there goes that first place finish or heroic boss kill.
Videos Won’t Cooperate
The little play bar is entirely full, indicating your video is streamed and ready to watch, but pressing play nets you a series of still shots and choppy syllables. Not exactly the video experience you want. This is especially frustrating with services like Netflix, which often shows the “progress” of a great television show or movie at 100 percent but then randomly pauses, resets to 25 percent, and makes you wait all over again. At least if you’ve got a 3G- or 4G-enabled device, you can read about the episode while you wait for it to starting playing.
Page Elements Are Missing
This often happens with big eCommerce sites like Amazon.com or small retailers who haven’t properly managed their code. If your Internet slows down, you’ll find product pages blank and photos missing, though the site will still gladly take your hard-earned cash. While peer reviews of an item are great, it’s difficult to commit real money if you can’t actually see what you’re getting.
Everything Just LOADS and LOADS
You know your Internet speed is slow when banking and other online transaction sites refuse to finish loading. You know you pressed “send” and the bill payment or purchase you made has already gone through, but you’re just not getting the confirmation page. What do you do? The sensible option is to wait, but just like the crosswalk or elevator call button most people jam away at “submit,” hoping it means “submit to my will” rather than “submit this form again.” If your Internet catches up, you may be in luck. If not, try again later.
One-off connection issues are common, but if you routinely experience Internet speed problems, start by checking your router, then by calling your provider; it may be time for an upgrade or a switch. In the meantime, what’s your most frustrating “slow Internet” moment?
Photo credit: Flickr/k0a1a.net