In the evolving world of technology, it can be difficult to keep up to speed with all the changing terminology and what it means. Mixing that with the reality that internet speeds have proven notoriously difficult to regulate officially and we have a recipe for confusion regarding what speeds are possible, ‘needed’, and what speeds are actually on offer in the market.
Let’s explore how internet speeds are measured, the difference between internet speeds, how these numbers impact the average consumer and how they translate into user-experience.
Cracking the Code: How is Internet Speed Measured?
Bits and Bytes are the standard form of measurement used when discussing internet connection speeds. A Bit is the smallest amount of information that a computer can process. A Byte is 8 bits put together i.e eight bits together equals 1 byte.
To allow “the marketing number” to be as high as possible; connection speeds are nearly always measured in the smallest data size available and in a small unit of time. Thus it is spoken about in the terms of bits per second and is abbreviated “bps”.
To better express large numbers and to abbreviate fast speeds for advertising the letters K and M are used to delineate between two main speeds. K stands for Kilo meaning one thousand and M stands for Mega meaning one million.
Kbps = Thousands of bits per second Mbps= Millions of bits per second
Rarely, but on occasion – a service provider may choose to use Bytes as a standard of measurement. When this happens the letters used will be capitalized i.e. KBps MBps so that the consumer can distinguish the difference.
Factors that impact your internet speed:
Viewing websites, downloading movies, and uploading files – all involve data transmission between multiple sites which are often in different locations around the world.
The speed at which the user can send and receive bits of data is determined by the slowest speed encountered in the system while transporting the data.
The slowest speed will be regulated by the system infrastructure that a service provider is using alongside the capability of the device that the user is using to access the system. Keep in mind that the number of people using the system at any one time will influence the possible speed too.
Information Super Highway
It may be helpful to see the factors that contribute to internet speed in your mind using the picture of a metropolitan freeway. The amount of vehicles and the speed at which they can travel on the road freeway depends largely on the number of lanes built and the quality and design of the transportation system. This refers to the largest player in the system, the internet network and service providers in your area.
The device/vehicle you are using to connect to the internet and its built-in capabilities will also influence the speed and flow of your data connection.
Just as there are rush-hours in a city, there are peak times of internet usage too. The amount of people accessing the system at any given time will create internet traffic and just like the freeway the more users the slower the data transmission.
Closer look at Upload and Download
Providers make things more complex by failing to mention (the majority of the time) that most internet speeds are based on an “a-synchronous’ type of connection. This means that there is a difference between the downloading and uploading speeds.
Commonly, the advertised super high speeds usually only refer to the download speed, i.e. how fast you can get information and data from the internet onto your device. Even when offered a high speed downloading the corresponding upload speed can be reduced to as little as 1/10th of the download speed available to you.
In many cases this may not affect an average person’s usage but what it means practically is that the quality of videos during calls may be low on services such as FaceTime and Skype.
Get Connected, Stay Connected
Prestigio devices are all 3G capable. You can then use built in Wi-Fi to connect to external public networks or your private network. Our devices have a SIM card slot inside so you can sign-up for a mobile data plan to keep you on the go.
Whether you are looking for employment, managing your student-life, seeking to CrowdFund for your new entrepreneurial pursuit; we offer a range of competitively priced devices that are sleek, modern, and best of all ready to connect you to the global online community.