Broadband Speed in Borth & Ynyslas
OK, time for a moan about our Broadband Speeds again!
As part of my job as a freelance website designer I’m often being called on to help people with their computers, set up e-mail accounts, sort out their broadband connections and generally teach them how to do certain things on their computers. Living in rural West Wales, many of these people live outside of Aberystwyth in little villages or in houses miles from anywhere. Because of this, conversation often turns to the speed of the broadband connections in these area and the fact that it is the people who live ‘out in the stick’ that need a decent connection more so than the people living in bigger towns.
Broadband has become an essential commodity these days, just like water or electricity and some of us are getting left behind. Mind you, most of the places I go to, however remote seem to have a better connection than I do. 2-3Mb per second is common in most places, whereas the most I can get is a 1Mb per second connection.
Bits and Bytes
When I do a speedtest (I usually use this real world checker) I get a download speed of around 900-950kbps and an upload speed of 200-230kbps.
Now, connection speeds such as this are measured in kilobites (or megabits) per second as opposed to kilobytes (or megabytes). Note the lower case ‘kb’ and ‘mb’ which denotes bits rather than ‘KB’ or ‘MB’ which denotes bytes. There are 8 bits in a byte so in real terms, my 950kbps download speed enables me to download data at approximately 120KBps. Not exactly great so it can take me a while to download videos and such like and it does sometimes mean that streaming things such as BBC iPlayer isn’t that successful.
Upload speeds are usually much slower – The ‘A’ in ADSL stands for Asymmetric meaning that the data transfer into the house is faster than the data transfer out of the house. This is usually fine as most people download more than they upload. However, I do quite a lot of uploading and recently I’ve been really pushing my upload limits.
As part of my backup strategy I’ve started using Carbonite as an offsite backup. The first thing I needed to do in order to use this was to upload all of my files to their server. Obviously I didn’t back up everything, but by the time I added all of my documents (letters, e-mails, financial records, spreadsheets, databases etc.) and all of my photos my upload queue had hit around 50GB. I have yet to add my music, movies or even the websites I’ve built to the queue as that would add another 30GB. I started the upload of the 50GB of data of December 22nd 2009 and it has been running almost continuously night and day since then. It finally finished the upload on Monday, 6 weeks or thereabouts of uploading!…. Oh for a faster broadband connection.