Ever since the days of dial-up internet, people have been hunting for ways to make their connection speed faster. Sadly, a lot of these methodologies that people have applied to get their internet connection speed to pick up are made up or completely fake. We needn’t worry too much, as the New York Post reports that average internet speed in the United States has increased by 23% between 2017 and 2018. This report seems like good news – faster internet for all means a faster connection and better internet experience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always pan out that way.
Internet Pipelines and Bandwidth
PC Mag defines bandwidth as the capacity of a carrying pathway for electronic transmission of data. Bandwidth is the limit of how much data you can transmit over a given period. A good analogy for bandwidth would be pipelines that supply water to our homes. They can only carry so much liquid at any point in time, and no matter how much you try to make them take more, they can’t move past the maximum rate of flow. Similarly, bandwidth in internet connections means that at their maximum speed there can’t be more information transmitter per second than they can manage.
Setting Aside Limitations
We can’t change our maximum bandwidth. We have to depend on our ISP to offer us the speed we’ve contractually agreed to pay for. Testing our internet speed can allow us to have an idea of how fast we can operate, but even on fast connections, we might find our loading times to be sluggish.
If we have a relatively fast connection, there must be some other thing causing our slow loading speeds. Our first stop would be to investigate our DNS server and see how fast it resolves our website requests.
Exploring the DNS Server
Cloudflare states that Domain Name Servers (DNS) are like phone books of the internet. A DNS takes a request from a browser and translates the written request into an IP address that serves as that website’s location on the internet.
Knowing how many sites are on the internet, it’s clear that performing a search on its database every time it has a request might be time-consuming. Many servers cache the information so that when requests come in, they simply spit out a cached version of the page. When a new request comes in, it starts caching that page for future applications.
The Beginning of a Bottleneck
ISP’s usually provide primary DNS to their customers, but this DNS is not guaranteed to be the fastest or the most efficient. Luckily, we’re not bound by our ISP’s choice of DNS for us. There are several options we have for selecting a custom ISP.
However, we should remember that distance still has a significant impact on internet connections. It may be even worse to change our ISP’s DNS server with one located on the other side of the world since requests for web page data might take even more time. Choosing a DNS to help speed up our internet connection speed requires knowing that the DNS has a server within close geographical proximity.
Free DNS Options for Consumers
The most popular free option is Google’s free DNS service, the Google Public DNS. Google manages to keep their DNS offering consistently fast by using IP information to localize server requests. The downside of using Google is that it tends to use our connection info to confine our search results. According to The Verge, Open DNS offers a free, secure DNS service that is probably as fast as Google’s public DNS, but has the added benefit of keeping our request information private.
Traffic Routing and Optimized Connection Speeds
The primary reason why DNS may be the bottleneck in our connections is because of the way they send data to the requesting machine. Routing data from the DNS to the requester can speed up or slow down the final request time. Increased request time might not even be due to having multiple jumps before getting to the requester’s computer. Some routes with more stops may be faster than a more direct way geographically. The speed of the DNS depends on how current its cache is and its ability to route data effectively back to the source of the request. Having a DNS that is efficient in both functions makes a lot of difference to the final speed of the connection.
No Silver Bullet to Deal with Internet Speeds
We can perform tweaks, improvements, and enhancements to our connections, but we can’t apply a single patch that leads to speeding up our internet connection. Default DNS works well for most users, and unless a person is having severe problems with their DNS resolution, many users prefer to leave it as default.
However, alternative DNS may be necessary to increase the speed or security of the connection. Ars Technica notes that typically, DNS requests are transmitted without any protection, meaning anyone can see the data being sent. DNS might serve to speed up our internet connection, but if personal security is something that concerns you, there might be a bonus to using a secure free DNS with our connection.
Author’s Bio: Emily Jacobs is a Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org
She loves to write latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.