The Internet is your Mac’s gateway to the rest of the world, and having a speedy connection is vital if you want to download movies, make video calls, play games, or even work online. Sometimes though, your Internet access might seem like it’s in serious need of a speed boost – but what can you do to ensure the fastest experience?
Even the highest speed connection may need some fine-tuning and optimisation to live up to its potential. It’s also worth noting that you should keep your Mac up to date with the latest software updates, because network-related fixes are issued from time to time.
The most important thing to remember is that your Internet speed can never exceed the maximum speed provided by your Internet Service Provider. So, if you’ve only paid for a 2 Mbps Internet line, don’t expect to be able to achieve 20 Mbps!
This guide explains some of the common (and not so common) ways to ensure that the Internet on your Mac is lightning fast.
Test Your Internet Speed
The first step is to test your Internet speed. There are various ways to do this, but the easiest (and most fun) is to use one of the popular speed test websites such as SpeedTest.net. This will test your Internet speed in the uplink and downlink directions, and present some useful statistics that you can compare with the average for your Internet provider.
Another way to check the speed provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is to look in your modem or router configuration, as it will often display the actual connected line speed which indicates the maximum that you should be able achieve on the DSL line and with your subscription. For example 6 Mbps, 20 Mbps, or even more.
You could also open the Network Utility (located in Applications -> Utilities) and conduct a “ping test”, but sites such as speedtest.net already measure the ping times – which is the network time to reach a specific host such as google.co.uk. Normal ping times should be only tens of milliseconds, and if you consistently see several hundred milliseconds in your ping times then it could be indicative of a Mac or a network problem.