Quite often discussion we encounter about VPN are focused on one subject – speed. Users are describing different VPN providers as good or bad because of speed or rather bandwidth of the servers they provide. In this short article we will try to show you that this is not as easy and straight forward to assess. We will also show you how to best use “3 hour trial” we provide, before you decide if we are good or bad in relation to speed of data transfer.First of all you need to understand that VPN tunnelling is not actually creating direct tunnel between two computers (unless they are on the same network). In our reality those two computers – yours (PC, Mac, iPAD, Android tablet, etc.) have lots of others computers and servers between them. Quite often data has to pass through few networks before it reaches its destination. All this influences rate of transfer and unfortunately is completely out of our your hands.
In general, there is few rules that have the biggest impact on speed. First of them is physical location and distance between computers. This is because the further away they are from each other than they have to travel through greater number of servers and networks – because this is how the internet is connected. So, it is not really the distance that makes the difference but the amount of other devices in between - and in our case additional distance adds additional computers. In theory you could create identical route within one house (if it is big enough to accommodate all those computers) and than, when you would measure the speed the result would be the same.
So, to see how it works, go to speedtest.net and make two tests. First, measure the speed of your connection in fully automatic mode. Speedtest will choose the nearest server to you based on your ping. Once you will have your result do another test. This time, choose server (manually) that is located as far from you as possible. How big is the difference in the shown speed? This is exactly the situation we face when we talk about VPN.
This is why all data send between you and our servers is fully encrypted. Since there is quite a lot of computers to pass and we do not know where they are or who owns them all data can not be send unencrypted. If the Virtual Tunnel would be a fixed, direct connection between us and you this encryption would not be necessary. But the first computers your data meets/passes through on it way to us are those that belong to your ISP.
And ISP quit often is second important thing when talking about speed of internet connection or VPN. As you know on the market there are good and bad companies, cheap and expensive, with large own networks and ones that are just using lines of a bigger competitor. In such cases speed of connection can differ dramatically between two different ISP’s in almost the same location. Quite often we have noticed that two broadband’s with identical nominal speed will have completely different transfer rates when data will be transferred from abroad. This means that when we will do test (like speedtest above) and we will select nearest servers we will not notice any significant difference between them. However when the data will travel internationally small ISP’s either have their traffic marked with lower priority (when renting lines form bigger entities) or simply not enough connections (and/or not powerful enough servers) to outside networks. If your own ISP has more connection points to different national and international networks, than signal/data you send can travel through less computers, can be more direct and because of that it is simply faster.
So, to sum all this up. Virtual Tunnel Network is in reality a chain of computers. Sometimes it is shorter (less computers to pass through), sometimes it is longer (more computers to pass through). In such cases overall speed of connection can only be as fast as the slowest link in the chain!