Broadband speed definitions

  CurlyWhirly 13:36 23 Aug 2004

I am on the 512kbps service.
Am I right in thinking that the maximum speed I can download is 64 kb per second?
I came across this figure as 512 divided by 8 (8 bits in a byte) equals 64

What I have in my taskbar is my modem icon and when I hover my mouse pointer over it it displays the figure 576.
In another internet article I have heard the figure 524 mentioned - so does anybody know
WHICH figure is right?

  CurlyWhirly 14:52 23 Aug 2004

Sorted now!

  pc moron 14:58 23 Aug 2004

512 Kb/s (Kilo bits per sec) equates to 64KB/s (Kilo bytes per sec).

The 512 Kb/s is the theoretical maximum and usually you have to knock about 7% off this because of overheads.

So, on a 512 Kb/s service a speed of 476 Kb/s is roughly what you'd expect if your connection is going at full pelt.

This equates to a download speed of about 60 KB/s.

The actual speed may vary by quite a lot depending on how busy the net is etc.

When I was on a 512Kb/s my router would tell me I was connected at 576 Kb/s.

The downloading of small files would sometimes be much faster than 60 KB/s, but anything bigger and the download speed always levelled out at about 60 KB/s.

Have a look here for more info and a speed test.

click here

  CurlyWhirly 21:51 23 Aug 2004

I have read your article with interest and it is what you say that I do indeed get around 470 kbps.
I suppose that this will get EVEN WORSE as more and more people upgrade to broadband?
At the moment I think BT puts me on a 50-1 contention ratio that (I expect) is nowhere near the limit but (say) in 2 years time when loads more people are on broadband then (I expect) my download speed will go down even more!

I am not sure whether BT can add extra capacity to broadband enabled exchanges?
By the way why do you call yourself PC MORON as you certainly DON'T live up to your name?!

  CurlyWhirly 22:00 23 Aug 2004

The downloading of small files would sometimes be much faster than 60 KB/s, but anything bigger and the download speed always levelled out at about 60 KB/s.

The above statement is EXACTLY what happens to me.
For example if I am downloading (say) a 1 mb file the download speed starts off in the region of 100 kb a second and then slowly comes down to around 60 kb by which time the download is complete anyway!
On a much larger file you nearly always see the download speed come down to your 'proper speed' and I have often wondered why this is!

  pc moron 00:46 24 Aug 2004

The following is an extract from the IT dept of one of the UK's large universities (1Mb/s connection)- I suspect that many of the UK's ISPs have a similar policy.

When downloading files you will find that on long downloads the peak speeds are faster than sustained speeds.

If you download a file the initial connection speed will be 1Mbit/sec (assuming the server at the other end is also that fast). For small files you will get 1Mbit/sec the whole time. For large files, after a while (at time of writing 250Mbytes, or 30 minutes sustained download) the connection speed will be gradually reduced, eventually down to 512kbit/sec.

We regularly tweak the exact figures to improve performance based on the circumstances.

Progressively reducing the connection speed in this way is the fairest way to control access to a limited resource. It means that the most demanding users cannot hog the connection to the exclusion of lighter users. Most users get very high speeds most of the time, heavier users get lower but still reasonable speeds.

I don't know for certain, but I think the likes of Nildram and Zen Internet offer sustained download speeds close to the peak speed- but it comes at a price.

  CurlyWhirly 07:27 24 Aug 2004

Thanks for the explanation in your last reply.

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