I was testing Speed.io, a new site for measuring the speed of an Internet connection and displaying it in a lovely way. (I’ve put in on the bruceb favorites page under Internet / Online Tools, joining an old favorite, Bandwidth Speed Test.)
The test results reminded me that Comcast’s PowerBoost technology really does improve the online experience. DSL has nothing like it. Comcast boosts the speed of just about every connection to a new web page or file for the first thirty seconds or so. That’s enough to load virtually any web page nearly instantly (or as close to it as the web server at the other end can supply the page). It’s also enough for most downloads to come flying down in their entirety at super speed. Huge downloads will slow down after the first thirty seconds or so, back to the rated speed of the connection. It’s not a special feature – Comcast has rolled this out nationwide to all of its customers for free.
The technology also fools most online tools for measuring speed, which typically upload and download files for less than thirty seconds. That’s how you get reports like this one, showing that my connection runs at 21Mb download speed, 3.3Mb upload speed. I’ve got Comcast’s business class service, which is remarkably fast – but not quite that fast.