Technology

How Background Applications on a PC Can Affect Internet Speeds

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More and more electronic devices require a network connection to function properly. Because of this, making sure your internet speeds are optimized is a major priority.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that their internet speeds are finite, especially when it comes to their PC. This could not be further from the truth, as there are many things that can contribute to internet speeds.

Among these are background applications that are running on your PC. While many of these applications are necessary to make sure your PC itself can function properly, there are still a smattering of applications that stay in the background, affecting internet speeds.

Check your internet speed first

Let’s say you need to download some files to finish an assignment that you are working on. You go to download them and it is taking a lot longer than you want it to take. Then, for some reason, the download stops for what seems to be no reason at all.

Frustrated, you begin the download again, and it is now even slower. You stop and restart the download, and on the third time, the download does not even start. You start the download again, and this time it downloads but is extremely slow. After what seems like an eternity, the download is successful.

There are two possible reasons why this phenomenon has taken place, and both of these reasons are connected. The first reason is obvious: Your internet speed may not be as fast as you think it is. The second reason is related to the first and is something that is very overlooked.

What determines internet speeds?

Your internet speeds are not as fast as you think. Checking your internet speeds to see what you have to work with is one thing that people who rely heavily on internet access to conduct their business is very important.

Internet speeds are determined by three things. The first thing is the specifics of your internet service package. Knowing that is simple enough, but what people do not understand is that internet speed that your package provides is the maximum speed, not the average speed.

The second thing that determines internet speeds is your modem or router and your physical proximity to it. If you are very far away from your modem it will slow down internet speeds on your PC.

These two things are common knowledge and everybody knows that the details of the internet package and the modem and router affect internet speeds. The third thing is not common knowledge, and is ignored by many.

This third thing is something that is ignored by many, and that is leaving applications running in the background on your PC. This affects internet speeds in its own distinct way that is completely separate from the other two factors that affect internet speeds.

Everything on a PC utilizes data

One thing that you need to be aware of is that if you have an application or a program on your PC that is running, it still takes memory from your PC for it to function. This is true for any program or application, whether it requires a network connection or not.

Because accessing the internet takes data from the same “pool” as offline applications and programs, this means that if you have these things running, it will affect your internet speeds.

This is especially true if you have background applications on your PC that utilize cookies. A cookie, as many know, is a small amount of data from a website that stores information as a temporary file on your PC. This can also affect internet speeds, especially if the temporary files are big and numerous.

Again, PC applications pull from the same area on your PC – it’s memory that is located in its central processing unit (CPU). The CPU uses random access memory (RAM) to maintain the data that these applications use.

Knowing this, one way to determine how exactly your internet speeds are being affected is to determine how much RAM your PC uses, and determine how much data your background applications and processes use from the CPU.

Most background applications use a negligible amount of data by themselves, but if they add up, they can affect your internet speeds a great deal. Being aware of this can clear up a lot of confusion when it comes to internet speeds.  

Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org

She loves to write the latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.

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