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What is your Internet Connection Type??

Feb 26, 2008 17 comments
Today, me and my brother had little discussion about Internet and I enjoyed that because, it's after long time, could be years that he came up with a question which really made feel 'wow,.. this is discussion'.
Well, He asked me :
'What is our Internet speed?'
'Why your laptop has slow internet connection than the desktop I sit on?'

Before, I answered those questions straight away, I thought it's time to act like GURU(ehehe, just kidding) and give him some divine knowledge on how Internet works. Though I'm not an Internet Guru, I do have basic understanding on those things and I ended up giving him all the things that he needed to know.

I started with, 'How many types of connections are available?' and then I went on like:
There are actually from slow to high speed internet connection depending upon the service providers and technology being used and these days service providers have one name, 'Broadband' but categorically, we can divide these connections based on functionality(note that, i'm writing functionality) in following ways:

Dialup Internet
Cable Internet
DSL Internet
Satellite Internet

Dialup Internet are based on Telephone lines and ISP usually wants us to dial their designated number, we dial them and we get connected to wired world. The download/upload is terribly slow as compared to today's modern world internet connectivity. May be at their times, they were HERO but now, they're obsolete because of their slow speed. In my country Nepal(may be other places too), it's still an expensive thing and in use because, Nepalese end up being charged for double time(one for telephone usage and one for internet bill) but what I learned here is, USA companies are giving dialup for free. So, it's the cheapest but slowest means of internet connectivity over here. Their speed never exceeded 56.Kbps(theoritically). So, you are online, when you dial the ISP number and get connected once verified.

Cable Internet are normally based on the cable wires which local Cable TV operator provides. You can either subscribe to their TV package and can get Internet service for added supplementary price or You can just subscribe to them for Internet service(only in USA, I learned that, But, In Nepal when I was there, one has to have TV channel and then only Internet service). Speed is quite broad than dial-up, so, it falls under broadband connection. Precisely, the burstable speed could go upto 4 Mbps from 1 Mbps for download, and for upload umm may be 512 Kbps(theoritically). And, the speed often fluctuates, you know. so not a quite stable connection.

DSL Internet are something which amaze me from time to time. These are the fastest connection available to home users to my understanding(forget fibre optics for now). The source of this type of connection is still phone line but the service provider has special device or modem called DSL modem which maximizes the throughput of normal telephone line and what I believed is it has the most stable internet connection, it never fluctuates. I'm writing these words from this very connection and when people asks me 'hey what's your download speed', I usually answer them with 'ahh. it's 160KBps(please note KB not Kb) you know'. I could've said it's got 3 Mbps standard DSL speed/bandwidth(it's the thickness of the speed, thicker the bandwidth,higher the speed) but they would wrong me calculating in their mind '3 MEGA BYTES PER SECOND??'. So, i usually tell them the converted figures( I'll show you how to convert those figures)

Satellite Internet, these are the Internet I've seen here in some places. People over here have strange fantasies to live up in the rocky mountains and they still have internet connection, that's because, they're rich and where no cable or line goes, there sits Dish Antenna and draws internet off the source in the sky or from some tower located somewhere else(may be that's radio.. i may be wrong). I don't have much experience with this thing, just read about it. It's every more theoretical for me :)

So, these are the types of internet based upon the functionality. You might have read differently based on different things like wired/wireless/radio/blah blah types of internet.

And, I answered my brother, our internet speed is 3Mbps(actually, they have 6Mbps plan recently launched too but, it's too expensive for now) which calculates to some 360KBps download in real time.
He replied annoyingly,"what 360KBps and 3Mbps, I'm not getting it?"
"Look, when we apply for service, we gotta know how much speed we're applying for and those company guys would tell you, it's 3Mbps/6Mbps, and you've to make choice whether you understand or not, but even a donkey would figure out that higher is better. So, 3Mbps is the standard for denoting internet speed. Do you remember 56.6Kbps modem??" I gently told him.
He nodded in agreement, " Oh yeah, right!! so, we've come this far.. wow.. it's 3Mbps, not mere 56.6Kbps or 14.4Kbps"
"Yes,now you got that in your head, that's why these speeds are termed as BROADBAND connectivity",I replied back with a laugh.
After a while thinking, he asked me another question,"But how did you calculated 3Mbps to around 360KBps?"

"bro, you and I went to same school, lemme refresh you.
Computer and everything about computer is Digital. Data flows in digital format always okie?. And with digital , it's always 0 and 1. These are the basic norms used in Digital Era. 0 or 1 comprises one 'bit' okie? and 8 bit equals 1 byte.
(i wrote in paper and showed him with something like below to refresh his memory)
0,1=1 bit
8 bit= 1 byte
1024 byte= 1 KB(kiloByte)
1024 KB= 1 MB(MegaBytes)

so, 1KB(KiloByte) and 1Kb(KiloBit) are two different things.

Therefore, if it's 56.6 Kbps, then 56.6 x 1000 = 56,000 bits(Kilo normally represents 1000 or you can write 1024, no problem)
Let's find it's actually download speed; lets divide 56,000 bits by 8 to find it's BYTE value.
so, 56,000/8 = 7075 Bytes
and 7075/1024 = 6.9 KBps(KiloBytes per seconds)
So, see?? 56.6 Kbps modem will give you the download speed off 6.9KBps, well theoritically, in reality you may be half of the speed, may be 3 KBps or even less in worst case. This is how I calculate the speed, okie?"

After I finished writing/talking, he went on calculating his own,"Okie, if so, I want to calculate 3Mbps myself, thanks for the refreshment.
(he calculated something like below)

3Mbps= 3 x 1000 x 1000 = 3,000,000(multiplying by two 1000 because, it's in MEGA) bits

3,000,000/8 = 375,000 bytes
(lets convert it to KiloBytes)
375,000/1024 = 366.2 KiloBytes

So, 3Mbps would give you 366.2 KiloBytes of download speed, precisely. WOW, "

I stopped him in the middle,"Eventhough, it's theoritically correct speed, but usually you get half of it's speed due to many reasons like congestion in network, data compression taking place in real time and so.( I don't think he understood them all but I made him clear, it's not the speed we get as he calculated). Therefore, even if it says 366.2 KB of download speed, you'll get half or less of it. TRY IT, DOWNLOAD SOMETHING HUGE."

What else, he went on downloading one Game setup file and the status was showing between, 160KBps-170KBps on 3Mbps broadband connection. He thought I was right. It should've been downloading at 360KBps but as I wrote before, it's only in theory. In reality it's different.

He seemed quite satisfied with my answers and next question was like why the speed on your laptop is not same as in this desktop.

I thought for a while, tried to remember all those jargons and terms, I've learned somewhere and replied," umm, my laptop is not connected on wire, it's wireless and do you know how's the standard of wireless connectivity measured?"

He said,"No.."

Thinking for a while, I replied,"well, they've standard like 802.11a,802.11b,802.11g and so. My laptop's inbuilt Aetheros Wireless adapter uses 802.11g Wireless standard and notice the alphabet at the end, like 'a', 'b' and 'g'.(in Layman's term) Higher the alphabet, higher the speed and features. So, 802.11g wireless connects at maximum speed of 54Mbps."

I showed him rightclicking on my desktop's LAN connection icon(two small computer icon blinking) which stated as 100Mbps as connection status. Then, I showed him, my laptops connection status which was showing me 54Mbps.

Lastly, " this desktop is connected on wire to the router and my laptop is not. If this desktop would have connected to router through wireless adaptor, it would have also 54Mbps as connection status. But since, this is wired to router, it gets the maximum speed and my wireless laptop gets just half of the network speed of my desktop. That's it."

He checked the download speed on my laptop and it was like 70KBps to 90KBps, which is not bad :)

-end of conversation-

I've used 6KBps speed at my home in Nepal, and here I'm using over 160 KBps which is far better and I can watch movies, streaming contents without problem :)

If you've similar connection, you can actually, estimate the download time. Mostly, you can download 100MB files and calculate the time it takes to download Or, you figure out your Connection type, calculate it's download speed and before you download something, why not calculate how much time it's going to take. It's fun you know.. DO IT NOW!!! ;)

PS:If you've any more to add to this conversation with me and my brother, please.. all the comments and constructive criticisms are most welcomed.


Guest said…
Nice article, you have mentioned every point here about internet, its speed and how it works. This site is useful to test internet speed online
Nisha said…
I have the second type of connection of all above, and its quite annoying at times.Its strange that in nepal you need tv channels for internet service.. here in india we can have the service without the tv.

Its another thing that people cant do without tv's these days.. hehe
deepa said…
Guru ji Thank. This is something interesting.
Anonymous said…
huh you really did your work and calculate thoese bytes/ kilobytes per second to your brother!! Wonder how your brother could understand it if your bro doesn't have any internet knowledge based
Navin said…
Sameer bro, exactly.. that site even lets us put the widget showing off one's connection speed :) like a speedometer. Thanks for referral
Navin said…
Nisha, that's what I wrote about, yeah, I'm pretty much sure that at morning and evening it gets slow or when not all people are using, it becomes usable. Speed is variable in CABLE connection.

And, yeah, TV cable operator in Nepal first want people to subscribe to their TV channel and then internet service. Pretty discouraging :) I don't know how's the situation there now..
Navin said…
deepa, Guru ji rey.. eheheheh.. thank you thank you
Navin said…
Vickie, I think I've made him understood in layman's term. Isn't it pretty simple to understand?? what one needs to have is basic idea on computer , afterwards, it's pretty simple to tell the idea. He seemed understood. Sure Enough.
NKM said…
Gmail Captcha is broken!
Read in my post:

My blog:
Anonymous said…
Tacticle to Practicle...The journey of ARPAnet in millitery use to INTERnet for public use has entered in our life in so deep manner that now i think we become in vacuum in absence of it.
Navin said…
hi Nabin,bro, it was nice read. Thanks for your comment.

Ametya ji, exactly, .. now there is no seeing back. !!!
Anonymous said…
wat to say yarrrrrrr, in most of cyber, blogger page didn't opened bcoz of internet connection.... then think it urself yar....
i think u have discrived about the KB and kb thing in your previous post also.and i am happy to learn again so deeply about internet connection type and about speed keep on posting such
intresting topic about internet and computer or collectively saying about techy thing
Navin said…
Aakar bro, ehehe.. that's why .. did you notice my recent changeover here. I think I've made my blog dialup friendly too. Now, my blog loads from Drastic 15 secs loadup to mere 3 seconds loadup time. Yeap, it's 3 secs or even less if connection is at fullest
Navin said…
Rujesh bro, you are right, you noticed about my old post too. It's even more things that I added that the last post. It was about USB speed I talked at that time, and it's internet speed this time but things are same in a few ways. Thank you for your great memory and thanks a lot for your inspiring words. Have a good time :)
Nisha said…
Hi navin.. oh thats quite irritating:( thank god here theres no such condition as that!

hey btw i have two net com reallife rakhi brothers from nepal ;) i will ask them about the connections..

take care.. i have something for you on my blog.. hope you like it:)
Navin said…
I really want to read the story of their part. wow, never knew you've two rakhi brothers from Nepal.. wow...

yeap, I'm visiting yours as regular :)

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