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What is Internet Speed?

Internet speed, the number your service provider gives you (5 Mbps, for ex.), has nothing to do with how quick your internet works.

Rather, internet speed is your allocated bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be sent to you, normally estimated in seconds. For instance, 5 Mbps would imply that you can get up to 5 megabits of information for every second.

Understanding Internet Speed Tests

Internet speed tests will give you a upload speed and download speed.

Uploading is the process of transferring information or data from your device to the Internet and downloading refers to transferring data from Internet to your device.

Typically the download speed is much greater than the upload speed.

This is typically OK because for most users they download much more than they upload on internet.

Download speed tests work by transferring a data of a known size from a testing server located on the Internet to your device, and measuring how long it takes.

A 4 MB document will take 8 seconds over a 4 Mbits/s connection and 2 seconds over a 16 Mbits/s connection.

The uploading speed is estimated by uploading a data from your PC to the test server and again estimating the time taken.

There are many online speed test websites that we can use to test our internet speed

As a comparison, If you imagine traffic driving down a 6 lane road, which becomes a 2 lane road and. then a 4 lane road.(picture Below).

You can see that the traffic will be restricted by the 2 lane road.

On the Internet, just like on a normal road, your ultimate speed will be limited by slowest link in the chain.

What is Kbps, Mbps & Gbps

  • One kilobit per second means 1,000 bits per second. This is sometimes described as kbps, Kb/sec or Kb/s but all of them carry the same meaning.
  • One megabit per second means 1000 Kbps. It’s also written as Mbps, Mb/sec, and Mb/s.
  • One gigabit per second means 1000 Mbps. It’s also written as Gbps, Gb/sec, and Gb/s.

Download speed vs Upload speed

When you visit a website with your web browser you are downloading data from the Internet.

Most people spend their most of the time surfing the Internet, and downloading information, which is why the download speed is generally more important than the upload speed.

If you send one email then that email is uploaded from your computer to the Internet.

If you post images or videos on Facebook or YouTube then those images/videos are uploaded to the Internet.

How long that takes will depend on the upload speed of your Internet connection.

Most broadband plans provide broadband over telephone lines, and use a technology called ADSL (Asynchronous digital subscriber line) which has a much faster downloading speed than upload speed.