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confused about internet speed

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Member Since: Sep 27, 2009
Posts: 18
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i have charter broadband cable service, i used & charter's speed test. both tests consistantly say i get between 12 mbps & 24 mbps...yet when i download things i never get more than 2 mbps download speed. i know that it could be a restriction of where i'm downloading from, but this even happens when i'm downloading 20 different files from 20 different servers. so shouldn't all those different server downloads add up to more than 2 mbps if i can download up to 24 mbps, no one can ever give me a straight answer. please help!!!


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Member Since: Jun 11, 2009
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I think speed test, tests the maximum but probably not the sustained rates...

"A megabit (mb) actually has two different values depending on what the term is being used to describe. When used to describe data storage, a megabit (mb) is the equivalent of 220 or 1,048,576 bits. However, when used to describe data transfer rates, one mb equals 1,000,000 bits."
What is Mbps?

As far as your download speeds ... I would be content with that ... I have tested my downloads... Cable ... ususaly are anywhere from 1 to 1.2 and thats pretty fast.. fast enough for the wife to be playing games online and both daughters to be streaming tv from the likes of hulu and still downloading 700MB to 1.4GB files in less than 30 min.

So it looks like you have a pretty fast connection to me. Could be the restrictions of where you are downloading from.

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Member Since: Nov 04, 2008
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One possible reason is the difference in megabits and megabytes. It takes 8 megabits to make one megabyte. So one may be rating their speed in mbps while the other rates in mBps. (The capital B is for bytes while lower case b is for bits.)

EDIT: Also if the m is capital or lower case means two different things. Capital M is for mega (decimal millions), while lower case is for mebi (binary millions). See the following site for those differences (if you care).

EDIT 2: I take that lower case m back. It is MiB for Mebibytes.

EDIT 3: csegeek beat me to it!!

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Download speed vary a lot depending on the server you are downloading from and their upload speed. Additionally, being on cable, depending on the amount of traffic in your local area that will also affect download speed.

If you do start 20 downloads, what kinds of speeds are you seeing across those 20 files? They might start for very quickly in the beginning and then slow down, due to the speed boost stuff that Charter and Comcast are doing..but the sustained download rate is what you should be counting..

The way to really test your download speed is to find a server that has a NICE pipe to download from..I usually hit up Index of /pub/linux/kernel/v2.6 and grab the latest version of the Kernel. That's a nice ~75MB file and the server has a seriously fat pipe to download from.

You should be able to get close to 1Mbps or more..

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When your downloading something from just about anywhere, you have to remember you will only download it as fast as it's being sent to you.
So if a server your downloading something from either has a slow connection or restricts there bandwidth, then you will download that file at the servers limit.

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