Remember baud? If you’re lucky, you don’t recall that archaic term defining modulation rate. But for those of us who do, it’s hard to believe we once measured the speed of our Internet connection in bits per second — no “mega,” just bits. In the mid-1990s, a rate of 28,800 bps was considered pretty hot stuff, as the Baltimore Sun reminds us. Not only that, our connection depended on modems and landlines.
Today, we expect our Internet connection to be blindingly fast and wireless. However, not all Internet connections are created equal. There are definitely some places in the world where you can surf the web a whole lot more quickly than others. The data revealing which regions are the fastest and why, just might surprise you. Akamai Technologies’ most recent quarterly State of the Internet report revealed fascinating data about who really is the fastest of them all.
Crunching the Numbers
Akamai’s report gathered massive data in a variety of areas, including both average and peak connection speeds. The global average connection speed was 3.1 Mbps (megabits per second), while the global average peak connection was 18.4 Mbps.
All About U.S.
Where does the U.S. rank in the race for top web speeds? Our peak speed is 36.6 Mbps, nearly double the world average. This places us right about in the middle of the top 20 regions with the world’s fastest connection speeds. The good news is that our numbers are up 11 percent from last quarter, which moved us up three spots, from 14th place to 11th.
On a regional level, Vermont led the country with the highest average connection speed of 12.7 Mbps and very nearly took first place with peak connection speed at 47.1 Mbps. However, the District of Columbia barely edged Vermont out with a peak speed of 47.2 Mbps.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in one of these speedier areas of the U.S., you can always turn to a provider such as hughesnetinternet.net for satellite Internet. Satellite Internet service is a great alternative for rural areas that wouldn’t otherwise have Internet connectivity. You don’t even need a phone to be able to enjoy satellite Internet.
Bigger is Not Always Better
When it comes to top connection speed, the smaller countries definitely have the advantage. High-speed Internet generally works through DSL (phone lines), coaxial cable or fiber optic systems, as Mashable notes. Smaller countries or islands are a lot easier to cover with cable or fiber optics. This in large part explains why Latvia, South Korea, Romania, Japan, and Hong Kong are the five fastest areas, with peak connection speeds of 44.2, 44.8, 47.9, 50 and 63.6 Mbps, respectively.
The Need for Speed
Of course, being small isn’t the only factor contributing to a top 10 peak connection speed. Switzerland nabbed this quarter’s spot at number seven, with a peak speed of 40.3 Mbps, an impressive 41 percent higher than the year before. A major reason for Swiss speed is that the country’s function as a world financial hub requires it. CNN says other factors such as culture, politics, population density, and the amount of competition among Internet providers also play an important role in a country’s overall Internet speed. Even better, competition not only helps speed things along, it also results in lower prices.