Gigabit Fiber is here, but your computer probably isn’t ready for it.

SMYRNA, GA — “I paid for Gigabit speed – why am I only getting 100Mbs speeds?” The calls are starting to roll in to tech support centers nationwide. While equipment failures do exist for total connection failures, the reason for “slow” speeds may be your own hardware.

Have you checked your Ethernet’s maximum data rate yet?

You might need to, because for most of us, 100Mbs (one-tenth of Gigabit speeds) is the maximum throughput our computers’ Ethernet adapters will allow, due to “high-speed” being redefined from 10Mbs to 100Mbs, and just recently, to 1Gbs… and more.

I was surprised after having just recently buying a relatively “new” computer just a few months ago – my own desktop box’s adapter turned out to be maxed-out at a rate of 100Mbs, and I suspect that many other people will encounter this same limitation.

Here’s how to see how much Internet your computer will be able to handle:

  1. On your Windows search bar, type in View network connections, and click the control panel item that shows up.
  2. You’ll see a list of network devices / adapters.
  3. Click the one for your Ethernet adapter or whatever you have currently in-use.
  4. You’ll see a speed listed. That is the maximum your computer will allow.
  5. See the picture below for what mine looks like (sad face):
Control panel showing Internet connections and options regarding their statistics and other data.

Simply put, you might be able to get Gigabit speeds from the router, but your box might not be able to use but a tenth of what is available, unless you have an updated Ethernet adapter.

If you choose a single-board computer, try to find one with an Ethernet adapter capable of handling newly-available Gb speeds that are just now rolling out in select areas.

Internet service providers’ tech support call centers have not yet been updated regarding this specific issue, so I hope this explainer article helps!

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About Amy Barnes

Author has extensive experience in Retail, including two years as a supervisor. Educated in Psychology, Financial Accounting, Criminal Justice, and Programming. Work experience in Law Enforcement, Security (IT), Programming (REALBasic, SQL, VB, JAVA), Retail.
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