Speed FAQ

This document discusses some common questions regarding the speed capabilities of your Broadband DSL account in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) format.

How can I check the status of my DSL service?

There are two ways to accomplish this:

  • If one or more aspects of your service are not functioning but you still have access to the web, point your browser to www.ptd.net. Once there, point to the "Customer Support" heading at the top of the page. Next, click the "PenTeleData Network Status" link located in the drop-down menu. Any current outages will be displayed here, as PenTeleData makes every effort to ensure that the information on this page is current at all times. Please note: Due to network security concerns, the Network Status page is not accessible from outside of the PTD network.
  • If your service appears to be completely down and you cannot access anything on the Internet, please call (800) 281-3564 and access our voice network status message via telephone: If you are a Residential customer - at the phone menu, press "2" for Residential support, then "2" again to hear the network status report. If you are a Commercial customer - at the phone menu, press "3" for Commercial support, then "4" to hear the network status report.

I am unable to access the Internet no matter what I try. I have also listened to your Network Status Report and there are no known outages in my area. What should I do next?

First, we recommend that you re-boot your PC(s) and try to access the Internet again. If that does not resolve the problem, power-cycle your DSL modem. This can be done by unplugging the power cable from the DSL modem for a few minutes and then plugging it back in. If you have a router, you should power-cycle that as well.

If following the suggestions above did not resolve your problem, please contact our Technical Support Department at (800) 281-3564 and a technician will assist you further. You may be required to disconnect any additional networking equipment when speaking to our Technical Support Department in order to assist in the troubleshooting process.

Regarding the speed capabilities of my DSL modem, what exactly is a megabit and a megabyte?

A Megabit (Mb) is one million bits of information. Therefore, if the rated speed of your DSL connection is "3 Megabits," this means that your DSL modem is capable of downloading roughly 3 million bits of information per second.

A Megabyte (MB) is 1,024 Kilobytes. Using the example above, if your DSL modem is capable of downloading 3 million bits per second, this would equal .366 MB.

A Byte is 8 bits and is equivalent to one character of text. Using the example above, 3 million bits would be equivalent to 375,000 Bytes.

A Kilobyte (Kb) is 1,024 bytes. Using the example above, 3 million bits of information is equivalent to 366Kb.

I was on a website which tests my download speeds but the results seem quite low. What could be the reason for this?

The following items may affect the accuracy of a DSL speed test:

Computers which are connected to routers, switches, or using wireless access points will have inherently slower transfer speeds compared to computers which are directly connected to a DSL modem.

Computers which have malicious software installed (i.e. viruses, spyware, or adware) may experience slow transfer speeds, as software of this type tends to drastically slow down your broadband connection. If you suspect that your PC contains malicious software, we recommend that you connect your computer directly to the DSL modem and scan for any malicious software. After this has been completed, please perform your speed testing again.

In order for bandwidth speed tests to be accurate, you must be located as close to the test server as possible. If you are using a bandwidth speed test which is hosted on a webpage in California, for example, the test packets must travel a long way to reach you and this and will obviously skew the results of the test.

Finally, normal data overhead from DSL modem transmissions can sometimes use up to 10% or more of your modem's available bandwidth. This data overhead is NOT reflected in download speed tests.

Does PenTeleData offer a bandwidth benchmark utility which I can use to check my modem speeds?

Yes. PenTeleData does offer a bandwidth benchmark utility.

I've noticed that there are minimum system requirements for my broadband DSL Service. Why is this important? Can't I simply connect a DSL modem to any PC which has Ethernet capability?

In order to ensure that you get the most out of your DSL service, it is necessary for your computer to meet the minimum requirements for the service, as stated below. Although many older PCs will allow a DSL modem to be attached, the hard drive speed can be so slow on older systems that the system actually cannot keep up with the DSL modem and the Internet will seem very sluggish.

Our minimum system requirements are as follows:

 Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7Macintosh OS X (10.0 or higher)
Disk DrivesCD-Rom 3.5" floppyCD-Rom 3.5" floppy
Processor Speed166MHz or higherPower Macintosh G3 or higher
Operating SystemWindows 2000 or higherMacintosh OS X (10.0 or higher)
Memory64 Mb or higher64 Mb or higher
Required Hard Drive Space650 MB or higher800 MB or higher
Video Display256-colorMac 256-color
Ethernet/USB10 base T/USB10 base T Ethernet Card
Additional SoftwareWinPoet
Internet Explorer/Firefox/Chrome
MacPoet
Internet Explorer/Safari/Firefox/Chrome

I have noticed that my latency is always high when I play online games. Why?

The term "Latency" is used to define the time it takes for a single data packet to be sent from one network to another. Very high latency may cause online games to "lag" and hamper your online gaming experience. If you are playing an online game and are having slowness issues when connected to a particular server, you may want to attempt to find another server to join. If the lag problem is resolved, the first server probably had issues. Please note that game servers are "as is" servers, as we have no control over the performance of the millions of gaming servers currently available on the Internet. Also, many gaming servers are configured incorrectly or overused. For example, it is not uncommon for a Dial-Up user on another network to host a game server and allow several broadband customers to connect to it at the same time. In a case such as this, the server will be extremely slow, as the host computer does not have the necessary bandwidth required to properly host a server. Because of issues like these which are beyond our control, PenTeleData is unable to offer technical support for gaming server issues. If you've read the above and still feel that your modem is operating slower than normal, please contact Technical Support at (800) 281-3564 and speak to a technician.

In addition, remember that our DSL partners offer different speed packages and you may want to consider upgrading your service.

I use a router with my DSL modem and I lose my Internet connection every few hours. Resetting the router fixes the problem. Is there a problem with my service?

Probably not. In most cases, problems of this type are caused either by configuration problems in your router settings or an inherent problem with the router itself. Also, many router manufacturers offer firmware upgrades which often fix known issues with their hardware; visit your router manufacturer's website for more details.

Please note that PenTeleData Technical Support does not offer support for home networking equipment of any kind, including routers, wireless products, hubs, game consoles, etc. Otherwise, please contact the manufacturer of your particular device for additional assistance. In addition, you may be required to disconnect any additional networking equipment when speaking to our Technical Support Department in order to assist in the troubleshooting process.

What kind of Ethernet card (NIC) should I buy?

Many newer computer systems already have a built-in Ethernet port. If your system has a motherboard Ethernet port already present, you will not need to purchase an Ethernet card; simply use the port which you already have. If you do need to purchase an Ethernet card, make sure you purchase one which is "10/100" compatible, as these cards are capable of handling current DSL modem speeds as well as being ready for any future speed upgrades. If you are concerned about good online gaming performance, make sure you choose an Ethernet card which is capable of "Bus Mastering," as this ensures that the Ethernet card will not steal resources from other PCI devices in your system. Please note that PenTeleData does not provide technical support for Ethernet cards. If you experience difficulties with installing the card or necessary device drivers, please contact the manufacturer of the card for assistance.

I am having problems installing the Windows driver for my new Ethernet card (NIC). Can you help?

No, you will need to contact the manufacturer of the Ethernet card directly for any support or troubleshooting issues. Most Ethernet cards are fairly easy to install and a detailed instruction manual is usually provided.

I've noticed that I have a choice of either Ethernet or USB when connecting my DSL modem to my PC. Which do you recommend?

If your PC already has an available Ethernet port, PenTeleData strongly suggests that you use this method as your connection. Ethernet is the most reliable way to connect your computer and does not require any additional software to be installed. The USB method requires additional device drivers which will be provided to you on a CD when your modem is installed. Please note that the USB connection method can NOT be used on Macintosh computers.

Does PenTeleData use a Web Cache?

No, PenTeleData does not employ server-side Web Caching at this time.

Can I run a server on my broadband DSL Service?

No. Servers of any type (FTP, Email, Web, etc.) are against the Terms of Service (TOS) for Residential Accounts. If you wish to run a server with your service, please call us at (800) 281-3564 and speak to the Commercial Sales Department for more information and pricing.