Calculating and better understanding internet speeds
In response to the letter by Jagatram Tekchand dated 2012-06-20 and titled “Not getting the DSL one pays for”, I would like to respectfully state that Mr. Tekchand is incorrect in believing that 256K DSL Lite means that we should or will get a download speed of 256 kilobytes per second (256Kb/s). I will further explain how to calculate the internet speeds.
The first thing to note is the varying measurements and descriptions of internet access speeds and to understand how they compare to the simple notion of transfer speed. There are 3 common speed measurements for internet access used by most ISPs (Internet service providers), Kilobits Per Second (Kbps), Megabits Per Second (Mbps) and Gigabits Per Second (Gbps).
To get the actual transfer rates which are observed when we perform a file download, we have to divide the ISP’s original bits-per-second figure by eight (8) to get the Bytes-Per-Second transfer rate; e.g. Dial-up modem is commonly referred to as 56K and measured as 56Kbps, which is effectively a transfer rate up to 7Kb/s (Kilobytes Per Second). DSL service described as 256K measured as 256Kbps and actual maximum transfer speeds in Kilobytes per second is 32Kb/s.
DSL service described as 1M (1 Meg) measured as 1Mbps (which is 1024K) and actual maximum transfer speeds in Kilobytes per second is 128KB/s (1024K divide by 8). Therefore to actually see a transfer rate of 256Kb/s we multiply that number by 8 (256Kb/s times 8 = 2048Kbps) which means the ISP would have to provide you with a connection of no less than 2Mbps.
I hope this gives some clarity to your readers to better understand our internet speeds.
Mr. Tekchand was correct in his understanding that his service seems a little poor 26Kb/s which indicates an effective connection speed of 208Kbps, which may have many factors including the source of your download (slow rates from the source website), poor Telephone Line condition, DSL Modem/computer faults(virus etc), use of improperly configured router and/or other gateway software/hardware, ISP employing the use of proxy/filtering servers, ISP hard set limits of speed lower than promised, etc.
Please note that most ISPs do not guarantee the maximum transfer speed indicated on a continuous basis, as their service is most often referred to as Dynamic and/or Shared vs. Dedicated. Dedicated or Guaranteed speeds often cost much more than what we pay for current 256K or 1M rates. What we should be more concerned with at this point are the rates we are paying for the services we are getting. An A grade service should get A grade money and a B grade service a B grade money. There is no secret that our ISPs can be much more generous in their offerings, whether speeds or payment rates.