[ This is a guest post by Spencer Hogg from the BroadbandExpert.Com ]
In order to get the best from your high speed internet connection and maintain the highest speed, you first need to know just how good your connection is by performing an online speed test. Data transfer speeds vary with distance from the server, so try a few different locations to get a good average; this will establish a baseline with which to compare later speed tests.
Physical connection problems increase data packet loss, slowing your internet connection by forcing it to request the same data more than once; double check all coax connections are tight.
Once the quality of the connection has been checked, there are several steps to optimize your PC and how it uses the connection.
Regular system maintenance will not only keep your PC running efficiently, it will help maximize the speed of the internet connection. Data transfer speeds have increased so much since the days of dial-up that any problems with your computer can manifest as slower than expected internet connection, as the hardware and software struggle to keep up. Regular registry error checks, disk cleanup and defragmentation help to keep system performance at its best, but if your computer is over 5 years old it may be time to consider an upgrade.
Double check the amount of RAM and hard drive space available. A computer may have a super fast processor but without adequate RAM, or with an overly full hard drive limiting virtual memory, the internet connection will suffer. Closing unused programs help to keep RAM free to be used by your internet browser while RAM management programs can also be useful to monitor RAM usage.
If your home network uses a wireless router it is very important to enable the built in security features to prevent bandwidth theft by individuals within range of the wireless signal. Most routers also allow management of port ranges for specific software applications to improve internet data transfer speeds.