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Internet Speeds Like 1989

The last few days my internet speeds for actual usage seem like 1989 with a 2400bps MODEM over noisy dialup lines… I am measuring 2Kbps most of the time using scp and web sites are essentially unusable.

The really strange thing is that all the speed test websites, once they’ve loaded the speed test (which takes 5-10 minutes) claim that my internet speeds are 13-15Mbps down and 3-5Mbps up! That would be great if that were my actual experience.

Initially I though Comcast had done something evil to DNS servers (and their servers are crazy slow and buggy), but I’ve completely by-passed Comcasts name services by using a caching DNS server with Google ( and OpenDNS ( as forwarders. That got rid of the “DNS Helper” ad site, and DNS is faster, but web usage is still slow beyond belief; outside the house. The house wiki is screaming fast, and I can stream content from one computer to another easily enough.

Anyone else experiencing a sudden downturn in internet speeds?

Update: I am more and more convinced that Comcast is rate limiting everything except speed test traffic; Flash and Java based speed test sites continue to claim I am getting 13-15Mbps download speeds, yet my actual download speeds for web traffic are drastically smaller:

Dragonfly[658]: wget
--2010-09-28 09:02:31--
Resolving (
Connecting to (||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 5593363 (5.3M) [application/pdf]
Saving to: “The_Performance_of_Clouds_Complete.pdf”

100%[==========================================================================================>] 5,593,363    170K/s   in 33s     

2010-09-28 09:03:04 (168 KB/s) - “The_Performance_of_Clouds_Complete.pdf” saved [5593363/5593363]

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