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Thread: Internet Service & Mbps: The Reality

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    Local Pedant Contributor lazserus's Avatar
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    Internet Service & Mbps: The Reality

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    I know not how Internet Service Providers (ISP) work globally, I can only speak for North American practices. Thus, the following information is restricted to North American ISP business practices.

    Internet Service Providers continually fool customers by using abbreviations and terminology to which most consumers are ignorant. Most commonly ISPs advertise their bandwidth flow using megabit per second, but usually they abbreviate to Mbps, which confuses most customers. This confusion leads to many customers believing their bandwidth is much greater than what is actually offers. Moreover, what is offered is rarely achieved.

    First and foremost, you need to know the abbreviation the ISPs use, which is Mbps. This stands for megaBITS per second. Normally a provider says you get X Mbsp download and X Kbsp (kilobit per second) upload.

    BIT & BYTE
    I truly hate to do this, but we have to tackle some mathematics in order to comprehend the relationship between a bit and a byte, a kilobit and kilobyte, a megabit and megabyte, and so on. The good news is that the math is easy, it's the terms you have to wrap your head around.

    Every piece of information transferred using computers is based on the bit, the lowest common denominator in the binary world. A string of binary code (a specific combination of 1's and 0's) equals a bit of information. A bit is so small and insignificant, it's like a single cell in a human body. The bit alone is not important (just as the cell isn't), yet the combination of bits (and combination of cells) is important. If you're a biology fan, you can relate binary to DNA and rNA, and a bit is a cell.

    • 8 bits = 1 byte
    • 1024 bytes = 1 kilobyte (kilo referring to 1000)
    • 1024 kilobytes = 1 megabyte (mega referring to 100,0000)

    The 1024 standard is true, but it becomes more complex after the megabyte. In theory 1024 megabytes equates to a single gigabyte, but the reality is more complex. But the upper stages aren't important for this topic.

    Bait-and-Switch
    Bait-and-switch is actually a simple form of fraud, most commonly used in retail environments, yet this form of fraud is legal. Your ISP uses this form of fraud two fold.

    ISPs, in their literature and through their human agents, use specific vocabulary to confuse the customer, namely using the bit system instead of the byte system. No one uses the bit system anymore because everything we deal with is mega or giga in byte size. Hell, the bit system expired before the year 2000. The bit system, as it is employed by ISPs, is merely used to confuse the customer. Let's look at an example.

    In the average North American metropolis, an ISP offers roughly a domestic speed of 5-8Mbps down. Superficially this looks like 5-8 MEGABYTES download speed, but it's far from it. Using the bit conversion, 8 Mbps means 1 megabyte per second. That means when an ISP says they offer 8 Mbps they really mean they only offer 1 megabyte download. And beyond this, they won't ever actually offer you that much. They sell you on a concept and once you sign up and do the math, you're stuck with a different reality. Bait-and-switch.

    Shitty Reality
    In order for you to be promised 8 megabytes per second download, your ISP would have to offer change to its vocabulary, otherwise say they offer 64 Mbps. And even though you're promised 8 megabyte downloads, you'll be lucky to experience half those speeds due to throttling. In some Asian countries (S. Korea) it's common to actually experience 25 megabyte-per-second downloads.

    The U.S. barely made the top 10 list of countries with advanced internet technology. Most eastern countries are more than 30x times advanced. The sad reality is that technology has nothing to do with it. North America was gutted in the 1990s and fiber optics installed throughout every city and its periphery towns, but big business is holding back. ISPs make TONS of money by confusing customers with lingo and offering shit service far below capabilities so that they can ration out "upgrades" to high-paying customers.

    Perspective
    Some of you reading this thread may not fully appreciate the numeric information I've provided, and that's perfectly fine. So, in that case, allow me to offer some perspective, some association.

    • Feature film at 720p = 800+ megabytes
    • Feature film at 1080i = 1.25-2 gigabytes
    • Low-quality MP3 = 1-3 megabytes
    • Medium-quality MP3 = 3-6 megabytes
    • High-quality MP3 (iTunes) 9-15 megabytes

    In a perfect world, if you actually received the bandwidth your provider offers, you're looking at a top of 1 megabyte per second, which would be 15 seconds for a 320kpbs MP3, and 13 minutes for a 720p feature film. Double that for a 1080i film. You don't get that good even with a T1 these days. So, if your ISP actually provided the offered 8 Mbps, and your connection had no hiccups, you could download an HD feature film in 13 minutes. But you actually can't!

    Final Thoughts
    Because capitalism has stomped its way into interfering progress, there's nothing we as consumers can do to change things. We can, however, understand the bullshit these companies attempt to dish out so that we can better choose between competitors. Even if your company offers 10 Mbps, that's no more than 1.25 megabytes, and what you'll actually achieve is at best half that.

    Remember, the megabit is much, much less than the megabyte. Your ISP is pulling a bait-and-switch on you with the megabit numbers. Why? Because North Americans are idiots, especially Americans. We see a higher number and automatically assume it's better.

    If you're interested in a bit/byte calculator, I suggest this simple one.

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    320kpbs

    WTF?

    I regularly get around 400 sometimes upwards of 600.

    I have just plain ole DSL
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    Loser of pens Contributor Vuall's Avatar
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    Wow you guys have some real slow internet.

    Btw Mb is mega bit and MB is mega byte, it's quite easy to tell the difference.

    I use Virgin Media's 20Mb service and quite regularly actually get about 8 or 9Mb

    you can check yours here: http://www.speedtest.net/
    Last edited by Vuall; Jul 3rd, 2011 at 8:30 AM.
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    Survivalist! Traveler's Avatar
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    Well this is what I got..

    Advertised as high speed

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/1368944407.png
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    Loser of pens Contributor Vuall's Avatar
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    faster than 99% of Ca? wow

    just did mine, it's up and down.

    http://speedtest.net/result/1369176216.png
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    Huh? Rabid1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Well this is what I got..

    Advertised as high speed

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/1368944407.png
    Unfortunately high speed just means faster than dialup. Back in the day a shotgun modem was high speed. It's just another way they can get you. I still can't get used to paying twice as much for half the speed compared to where I used to live. Although having an ISP that has a main router still set to default admin user and password is handy. I have gone in a few time and reset the DNS server when they were down. You have to love small town service.
    Mr. T made his van go twice the speed of light because he wanted to prove that quantum physics was a bunch of jibba jabba.

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    The above was while uploading and downloading on computer two.

    Below is after the wife turned off her programs and her PC.



    DSL. Connection.


    Vaull looks like he has a cable connection.

    I wonder what Lazurasas' tests at?
    Jim Crow America relegated Blacks to the back of buses. Israel wants Arabs excluded from the bus entirely.

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    Local Pedant Contributor lazserus's Avatar
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    Even at Vuall's 10.73Mbps, that's only 1.34 megabytes per second down, and he doesn't reside in North America.

    As I said, speeds are measured by ISPs in kilobits and megabits, not kilobytes and megabytes. This is where customers get confused. Even Speedtest.net measures in megabits, not megabytes (hence Mbps while testing). Mbps = Megabits per second.
    Last edited by lazserus; Jul 7th, 2011 at 7:50 PM. Reason: I removed my Speedtest results to stay on target.

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    Well thats easy,

    I'm in texas like you. Closer to the SA area though.

    Traveler is in canada Toronto I think

    and Rabid1 is Illinois I think... correct me if i'm wrong rabid1
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    Local Pedant Contributor lazserus's Avatar
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    States are irrelevant to the topic of this thread, my friend. The point of the thread is that companies confuse customers by using abbreviations such as Mbps, which most think of as megabytes per second. Our individual downstreams have no real bearing on this topic other than to galvanize the information I originally provided.

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    FlatLiner Contributor DontBeAfraid's Avatar
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    Lucky survivor Seasoned Member ruiner4u's Avatar
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    Hmmmm at the very end it got REAL fast and the little graph thing skyrocketed.. Is that what they mean by throttling so isp's can make these little tests look good?
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    Local Pedant Contributor lazserus's Avatar
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    Aright folks, please don't post your bandwidth speeds in this thread. I didn't create the thread for people to share their downstreams. It's an informative thread.

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    FlatLiner Contributor DontBeAfraid's Avatar
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    Laz... you posted yours so... what the fuck is the problem?
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    Lucky survivor Seasoned Member ruiner4u's Avatar
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    Then can I post my bandwidth in all of The Words threads?
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    Stop being such a mod nazi laz...do as I say and not as I do aint cool man.
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    Also Kudos on DBAs speeds. is that the cable "plus" package?

    Any throttling on your connections for fair use?
    Jim Crow America relegated Blacks to the back of buses. Israel wants Arabs excluded from the bus entirely.

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    FlatLiner Contributor DontBeAfraid's Avatar
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    I think I have the mid tier package. I know I get throttled for obvious p2p activities but Im not for anything else as far as I can tell.
    I aggressively attack stupidity... If you feel I am being aggressive, well....

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    Quote Originally Posted by DontBeAfraid View Post
    I think I have the mid tier package. I know I get throttled for obvious p2p activities but Im not for anything else as far as I can tell.
    I know how to work around that...but no what I was more curious about is :

    Do you have download and upload caps?

    ATT was supposed to cap us this last month but so far nothing...

    I'm sure the reason for ATTs hesitation has nothing to do with Time Warner making fun of them and their caps and offering new customers that switch no caps and 50 bucks off.
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    FlatLiner Contributor DontBeAfraid's Avatar
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    I hear its 250 gigs but even with heavy netflicks use I dont thinkI have hit it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontBeAfraid View Post
    I hear its 250 gigs but even with heavy netflicks use I dont thinkI have hit it.
    No you wouldn't with only that as you're main bandwidth eater.

    Well thats all neat if you don't mind the caps and insist upon superior speed.

    I am more of the in between type.. I insist upon the highspeeds but caps are a deal breaker.
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    FlatLiner Contributor DontBeAfraid's Avatar
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    hd movies are like 7 gigs but ya, even watching one every single night I still wouldnt come all that close to the cap... and Im not running a server/service of any kind so I prefer the highspeeds...
    I aggressively attack stupidity... If you feel I am being aggressive, well....

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    Local Pedant Contributor lazserus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontBeAfraid View Post
    Laz... you posted yours so... what the fuck is the problem?
    I posted mine only because it was requested, DBA. But since you're going to whine about it, I deleted mine and I'm still on topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarch View Post
    Stop being such a mod nazi laz...do as I say and not as I do aint cool man.
    This thread isn't called Post Your Bandwidth. It's a discussion on the definition of Mbps. If you guys want a thread sharing your bandwidth with the rest of the membership then create one. This is a tips forum.

    I wish you guys would actually pay attention to the content you post. It's absurd that you stray so far from the topic and then call people Nazis for telling you to stay on topic.

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    I wish you would stop acting like a control freak sheesus . I mean really excuse us for not commenting the way you wish us too but nobody was out of line here laz nobody but yourself with your overbearing insistence that we write what you want to read.

    Call it off topic , call it off center, call it what ever you like mang all we poor peons here see is an out of control nazi mod..I mean seriously your making Lycanox and Cart look tame by comparison.


    All us posting our band width is a testament to the speeds our IPs allow us (AS YOU BROUGHT UP IN YOUR OP) and it looks as though some of us do far better then other depending upon our local rather then our internet providers hatching some kind of conspiracy to throttle our speeds by keeping us in the dark....

    Not a big surprise.

    I got more non surprising news for ya, Many MANY of us understand abbreviations like Mbs and Kbs and terms of service/ use contracts and what average speed means and all this wonderfull stuff you feel inclined to share with us.... only when we share back with you in a way you personally disapprove of and all of a sudden "we need to cut that out"

    Seriously man loosen up.
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    Huh? Rabid1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazserus View Post
    States are irrelevant to the topic of this thread, my friend. The point of the thread is that companies confuse customers by using abbreviations such as Mbps, which most think of as megabytes per second. Our individual downstreams have no real bearing on this topic other than to galvanize the information I originally provided.
    It would be unfair to imply this is meant as deliberate misinformation on the providers part. If a person chooses to be ignorant of the terminology used in a service they pay for it is not the services fault. Bits and bytes are standards that have been in place longer than high speed internet has been available.
    Mr. T made his van go twice the speed of light because he wanted to prove that quantum physics was a bunch of jibba jabba.

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