Speeds - 512Kbps? 2Mbps? What does it mean? Which should I choose?
When it comes to speed it can get confusing! For a start, Internet transfer speeds are measured in kilobits per second and megabits per seconds.
How does this affect what you'll be using your internet connection for? Here's a table to make it simple:
| Internet Connection
|| Time to load a typical
(assuming 100 kilobytes of data)
| Time to download
a typical 5-minute song
(assuming a 5 megabyte MP3 file)
| 56K dial-up
|| 14 sec
|| 12 min 30 sec
| 256K broadband
| 512K broadband
1 min 30 sec
| 1Mb broadband
| 2Mb broadband
| 4Mb broadband
|| 0.2 sec
|| 10 sec
Note: all figures are approximate and represent best-case
download speeds. Actual speeds could vary.
So you can see that an entry level 512K broadband connection is about ten times faster than a standard dial-up connection.
So, the download time for a typical 5-minute MP3 file is around one and a half minutes with a 512K broadband connection. The time it takes to download is less than the time it takes the song to play. This means that you can listen as you download. This is known as streaming.
This also applies to video. Many sites allow you to watch video, even live video. In many cases video is offered in two or more different sizes or at different qualities. Depending on the connection that you choose you can watch the video at a larger size and better quality.
So lets summarise the different types of Broadband Connections
* Entry-Level - (256K or 512K) is perfect for browsing the web and downloading email. If you download a lot of music or stream video or music then this may not be for you.
* Mid range - A faster connection (1Mb - 2mb) is probably better if you intend to download a lot of music, play games or if you intend to share the Internet connection between more than two or three computers at home or in the office.
* High End (3MB - 4MB) The Fastest currently widely available in Ireland. Recommended for very heavy users and for business. There are now offerings of upto 24 Mbps. Suitable for IP Television and VERY fast downloads!