Factors affecting the speed and quality of internet connection

Multiple factors affect the speed and quality of your internet connection. Transfer technology, your location, the number of people you share the connection with and the device you use are only some of these factors. There are also differences between a fixed network and a mobile network.

Speed in fixed network

Data transfer technology. In fixed networks, the main factor affecting the broadband speed is the technology used for data transfer. Fibre-optic and cable networks enable high-speed connections, whereas traditional xDSL connections provided over a telephone network have limited maximum transfer speeds.

Network centralizer. The speed of your connection also depends on the distance between your terminal device and the network centralizer. The further you live from the operator's broadband centralizer, the more it affects the speed of your connection.

Other devices and users. Most of us have several different devices connected to the internet at the same time at home. If you use multiple services and you are not the only user of the network, this can cause the connection to slow down or cut out.

Speed in mobile network

Network technology and terminal device. The connection speed in mobile networks depends, in particular, on the network technologies available in the area and the features of the user's terminal device:

  • the 4G network enables a high-speed connection in suitable circumstances
  • the 3G network can be used in a wider area but the maximum speed is lower
  • the GSM network is the most extensive network but the data transfer speeds are very limited

Other users. The mobile network capacity is shared between all the users in the area using the same network. During certain hours, there are many users, which causes the connection speed to slow down.

Location. If the user changes locations, the speed may change because the signal varies depending on the coverage area. If you have mobile broadband at home, you can check your operator's coverage map to see how far you are from the base station.

Test your actual connection speed

Several operators provide a free speed test for their customers. The test shows the connection's real-time download and upload speed. You can get different results at different times, which is why you should run the test a few times at different hours.

You can test the speed of your connection, for example, by using the following services:

In Traficom’s MONITORi service you can see the results of other users’ speed tests for mobile connections.

What does your agreement say about speed?

Remember that the theoretical maximum speed of your connection is not the same as speed range. The speed range describes the actual speed of your connection. Your subscriber connection agreement should contain at least the following information about the connection speed:

  • minimum, normally available and maximum speed if you have fixed broadband
  • estimated maximum speed if you have mobile broadband
  • advertised speed of the connection.

If your subscription comes with a data transmission quota, the agreement must explain how exceeding the quota affects the speed.

Another factor affecting your use of broadband, besides speed, is latency, which is typical for the technology. If latency has practical effects on the use of the internet access service, operators must explain this on the agreement. For example, latency in satellite broadband affects the use of applications requiring real-time data.

Having problems with your telephone or internet connection? Find out how to solve the most common problems .