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Proof of Network Throttling

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Came across this site when I googled "How to test internet speed over time". The reason for doing this was as of last weekend, 3-24,25-18, I had issues with download speed in the evenings. Of course, I did what seems to be the obvious thing we do these days, and that was to unplug the modem/router and retest speed. I have a 20mb down/ 1.5mb up plan. I had routinely received between 17-19 down, and 1.4-1.5 up since upgrading a couple years ago through Fair Point (now "Consolidated Communications"). I went from regular dsl, to the "bonded" version.


So, back to last weekend.

I could not for the life of me get my download speed back to normal Saturday night. But when I checked Sunday morning, it had returned to what I had before. So I thought, good, fixed. Then came Sunday evening.  Same thing, download speeds of around 1 to 3mb. Hell, my upload speed was greater!  Hence my search to test my speed over time.


 After playing around and testing with this website, I finally figured out the best settings to achieve what was showing for speeds on other test sites. I chose the closet server, in my case NY. Then made sure to have multithread activated. Also, creating an account allowed me to test every 10 minutes at 200 times. With no account, the most you can test for is 50 times. After a week of testing, I'm able to prove that after 7pm, my download goes to shit. At around 6am the following morning, it returns to normal.


After testing for the week:




As you can see, I'm definitely being throttled. I called Consolidated Communications Friday morning from work. I explained that I was losing my download speed in the evenings and have proof. The lady said I should call when I was having the problem. I said I tried, but the internet phone number that used to be 24/7 through Fair Point, was now telling me that the office was closed and to call between the hours of 8:30am to 5PM. She stated that the internet trouble shooting was still 24/7 and gave me a number to call. I got home late last night and went straight to bed.


Today, Saturday, I will call armed with my proof of throttling. Stay tuned for my update. 



Called Saturday evening, and they ran some tests. I was told that a ticket was created, and they are scheduled to come Monday. The tech put into my notes that this issue needs to be checked between the hours of 7pm and 6am in order to test my line when the problems have been occurring. I will post back when and if this problem gets resolved. The tech I spoke with said he had seen this problem before, and it was someone "stealing" bandwidth. If that was the case, and even possible, I wouldn't think that it would happen at a set time every day of the week. I still believe this is a case of network throttling, and that my ISP's algorithm to engage this has somehow lowered my bandwidth to a level that was obvious to me. If it were lowered by only 3 or 4mb, I probably wouldn't have noticed, and not started my "investigation".    

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It could be that they just have too many customers connected to the same subsystem as you. The throttling occurs in those hours where everyone gets home and starts watching high bandwidth video stream. The ISP may or may not be intentionally throttling you. 

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So, after thinking about my slow download speed that only occurred during specific times, I got to thinking. What was the common denominator? Street lights! I contacted my electric company and asked if they could disable the closet street lights to my location. Friday night, I checked my speed, but it still dropped shortly after 7pm. The next week, I had both the phone linesman and one of the electric company linesman come to my house just after my speed dropping again. The had me hook up my modem directly to a generator, and run my laptop by battery. Still no change. Then the electric company guy cut power to the area where I live. Still no change. Before they left, they discussed the option of a planned blackout further away from my house sometime that week, after getting permission from the town. Soon after they departed, I went and checked my download speed again. Lo and behold, it was back! The phone man called from his office shortly after, and I asked if he was seeing what I was. He stated that after leaving, he and the electric company guy got to a street light that wasn't operating except for a very faint glow. It was unhooked from the town power, and I got my internet back! So, if any of you have an issue like this, tell your phone company/electric company to start disconnecting street lights!

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That street light sure must have been emitting a lot of interference to interrupt your Internet connection.  Based on the faint blow, it probably had a loose or badly corroded terminal that was arcing.  It also makes me wonder just how many others in your area were affected. 


It is surprising the havoc that even a small electric arc can cause.  Even the older incandescent blinking fairy light strings were known for interrupting DSL connections. 

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