Since the release of DSL, Internet Service Providers (ISP) have been marketing the Internet Bandwidth Speeds of their service to steal customers away from their competitors. The first battle was Dial-Up vs. DSL. Followed by DSL vs. High-Speed Cable and of course today it’s High-Speed Cable vs. Verizon FIOS.
Honestly, the battle for “Speed” supremacy will probably never end NOR IS THAT WHAT I WANT IT TO DO. :) After all, when it comes right down to it, as the growth of the ONLINE services continues (HULU, YouTube, Streaming Netflix, Amazon Unbox, PORN…) so do the demands of Faster Internet Connections.
So, as a Groovy Reader, you are in for a treat because today I’m going to talk about:
- How to convert your ISP Marketing Lingo into English
- Where you can Test your Internet Speed
- Sorry, that’s it
So, let’s jump right into it!
How to convert Marketing Internet Speed/Bandwidth Lingo into Real English
Be an informed consumer. It’s even more important to be a GROOVY informed consumer! So let’s take a look at a Verizon FIOS Internet Advertisement and dissect it.
Note: Mbps above is supposed to be written as mbps. Verizon marketing guys should fix that.
WOW! 10 mbps Download and 2 mbps Upload! That’s amazing!! Right? At those speeds, I should be able to download an entire DVD in…
- 1 DVD = 4 Gigabytes
- 4 Gigabytes is 4000 Megabytes
- So at 10 Mbps the math would be 4000/10 = 400 seconds! WOW!! An entire DVD in 6.6 Minutes!
Actually no. You see, here’s the problem. Mbps does not = MegaBytes per second. Mbps = MegaBits per second. Let’s quickly get familiar with the Math of the Verizon FIOS Ad above using 10 mbps:
10 mbps conversion
Reference: Numion.com has a GREAT Data Unit converter I highly recommend!
So the actual math for a DVD download at 10 mbps would be:
- 1 DVD = 4 Gigabytes/GB
- 4 Gigabyte = 4000 Megabytes/MB
- 4000 Megabytes = 32000 Megabits
- 32000 Megabits/10 mbps = 3200 seconds or 53 Minutes
Here are a few more examples of downloading at 10 mbps/Verizon FIOS Ad Above:
Note: These are BEST CASE scenarios. Normally if you get 50% your speed, you’re doing good!
Clear as mud? Just remember:
8 Megabit (mbps) = 1 Megabyte (MBps)
Okay Geez I understand Megabits already! How do I check my connection speed?!
How-To Test your Internet Connection Bandwidth Speeds
There are a couple of places that I frequent for this purpose, and both are dead simple:
Usually, I use Speakeasy.net. It doesn’t have all the eye candy of Speedtest.net, but I like simple and clean.
1) Just Open your Browser and Type http://speakeasy.net/speedtest/ in the address bar.
2) Once the page loads Click the closest Server Location to begin.
The SpeakEasy site will test out your Download and Upload speed. When the test finishes, your Upload, and Download speeds are displayed using kbps or Kilobits per second.
In my example, my test came in at 14,740kbps Download and 11435 kbps Upload
- 14,740 kbps = 14.7 mbps which = 1.84 MBps or Megabytes Per Second
- 11,435 kbps = 11.4 mbps which = 1.42 MBps or Megabytes Per Second
Not bad EXCEPT, I’m currently paying Verizon for the 20 mbps Download and 20 mbps Upload FIOS plan. It looks like Verizon Owes me some bandwidth! :)
Personally, I’m not going to call Verizon and demand my money back. Why? Well, the problem (that we’re ALL going to start facing) is that the bottleneck with Internet access is no longer you and me. The bottleneck is slowly shifting to Websites and Internet Services. Websites like Youtube, Netflix or even Speakeasy only have so much bandwidth, so all their customers have to share what they have. Just think what happens to Speakeasy if 100 FIOS customers all hit the server at the same time to test their internet connection.
Now granted, HUGE companies like Google and Microsoft have super groovy Internet Pipes, but smaller sites don’t. And when people like me connect and try to consume a full 20 mbps, the Website/Service might not have enough Bandwidth to give me all 20 mbps. So be patient. As consumers get faster Internet pipes, so do Websites and other Online Service providers.
This article was fun to write. I would LOVE to hear about your Speed Test results! Do YOUR results match what your ISP sold you?
In your comments below, please include the following so we can compare and get some perspective:
- City and Service Provider
- mbps plan (Up/Down)
- Speed Test Results
One thing to note, on Windows machines, I recommend running the tests using Internet Explorer. Running the tests with Firefox I consistently get slower upload speeds (4000-5000 kbps slower upload). Some say it’s because the FLASH plugin for IE is faster than Firefox but I have no idea. Check on your own and post your comments below.