Here in this blog post i am going to outline the 4 lies of internet service providers.
The 4 lies are:
- Unlimited bandwidth!
- Unlimited downloads!
- Up to 10Meg broadband!
Lets start from the top:
1 ) Unlimited bandwidth is impossible, at least, if you use the word bandwidth to mean the maximum physical throughput of a line. If you mean bandwidth cap, go to section 2. This is going to get technical. Your connection to the internet has a maximum speed. Probably around 10mbps if you are in the UK, (go to section 4 to find out the lie about 10mbps). That speed is shared between every computer connecting to your router. If you have 4 computers, they don’t all have access to 10mpbs, they all have access to 1/4 of that at best. All applications to the internet also reduce bandwidth. If you have a full house of internet gamers, you will experience stuttering video and bad connection speeds even with 10mbps internet, because that is merely the maximum amount of data your line can handle. Let us quickly list some of the limiting factors to your bandwidth, everything in this list can/does effect your connection on a daily basis:
- Monthly cap, once you go over your connection will slow down. See section 2 for the “Fair usage bullshit” of unlimited downloads.
- Shared lines, if you share your internet line with other people in your area, you have less available bandwidth. You may be the only person in your house using the internet, but if you share your line with the house next door and they are all avid mmo players, your connection will suffer.
- Multiple computers or devices connected to the internet. This is a big big slowdown.
- Multiple programs connected to the internet also slow down your connection. FYI Each tab in your browser counts as a separate browser window.
- Wireless connections are always slower than wired, each step you take from your router is a slower connection, big electronic devices such as TV’s and microwaves also have an effect on this.
- Time of day, from 5pm till 10pm your connection will get worse, it just so happens the more people on the internet the slower it is globally.
- If its sunday evening, everyone is online. Everyone. Expect a slow speed.
- The further you are from your exchange, the more hops your information has to take this slows things down much more than anything else, and is a hard to solve problem.
- Viruses cause internet noise and cause a lot of connection problems for those infected and those not infected alike by having more connections to the internet. Viruses have been known to cause global slowdown.
- Traffic shaping policies, your ISP might try to curb your interest in videos by automatically throttling your connection whenever they detect you are streaming media (streaming is UDP very easy to determine the difference between a website request and a stream request).
- There are even more limiting factors to bandwidth, but this list is long enough already.
So keep this in mind next time you are raging in the living room playing halo on your xbox while watching a video on your laptop and your girlfriend is skyping with her best friend while surfing on her tablet. The connection is bad because you have given your xbox probably about 800kbps to work with. It needs 1.2mbps.
2 ) You do not have unlimited downloads. You have a limit. Don’t think you do? Check your contract, there will be a little section named “Fair Usage Agreement”. That is your limit right there. The fair usage agreement states that you are allowed unlimited downloads up to a point where you are no longer fairly using the service. Basically, if you go beyond a high end cap, more than what a standard user would get through in a month, you will be considered abusing the service and your connection will be throttled. This cap is usually between 50 and 150 Gigabytes of data. Every company does this. Some are fairer than others. Some are total pieces of shit, aka fuck AOL.
3 ) Up to 10Mbps, means, this is the maximum our service provides, NOT what you will necessarily receive. What you will receive is affected by the limiting factors of the environment around you, the big list from section 1. Changing ISP’s often has no affect on your connections speed.
4 ) This is my biggest gripe with ISP’s is their very subtle lie about speeds. 10Mbps broadband, what does that mean to you? That your connection speed will allow you to download 10 megabytes of data a second right? Wrong. It will allow you to download 1.25MB to 1.5MB a second. There is a trick here, 10Mbps is not the same as 10MBps. Its subtle but the B and b stand for Byte and Bit respectively. 10MB is ten megabytes, 10Mb is ten megabits. There are 8 bits in a byte. Data is stored in Bytes, data is transferred in bits. They use bits so that they can appear to be offering you more than they are, clever bastards right?