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Connection speed and what it all means

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As a child of the 90s, I never really learned patience is a virtue. I’ve built up a reliance on instant gratification and it seems I’m not alone; Microsoft has claimed that human attention spans are now shorter than that of a goldfish!

In today’s world, the faster something can be done, the better. This is why the Internet has been such a massive achievement for society: it saves us oodles of time on thousands of daily activities.

Many of us, including myself, have become addicted to the speed at which we can get things done online. So it makes sense to want a fast internet connection. Why wait hours for uploads and downloads, when it can take seconds? Why deal with that annoying buffering screen interrupting your streamed viewing?

So we all know we want fast internet, but how fast do we actually need it to be? And what do the speeds actually mean in real life terms? These are important considerations in choosing a plan. You don’t want to be paying for a speed you don’t need or won’t take full advantage of, while at the same time you want a fast enough plan to get things done in a timely and efficient manner.

That’s why I’ve put together this article, to try to explain the enigma that is Internet connection speed, and ensure you’re on the right plan to fit your usage.

Speed conversions AKA “The Boring Bit”

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Sadly we were wrong when we were wilful teenagers, declaring to our math teachers we would never need to use their convoluted equations and stupefying sums. Little math problems seem to have a way of wriggling back into our life, such as when we’re trying to measure Internet speeds.

Let’s get this out of the way fast so we can get onto the good stuff. All the online activities you engage in day to day, from emails to playing online games to streaming TV shows, use data. You get that data sent to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), like iiNet.

ISPs will report their speeds as the amount of data transferred to you in one second, usually in the unit Mbps or megabits per second. Think of it like little packets of data that are being sent over all that internet cabling to your closest connection point and how fast it takes them to make the journey.

Where things get confusing is in the conversions of measurements. ISPs will usually report speeds in megabits/kilobits per second, however most Internet tasks such as files to download or upload are measured in size such as Megabytes or Kilobytes. Bits and bytes are both different sizes of data, but when “BITS” is used for a speed rate and “BYTES” is used for a file size, it’s actually more useful for us to know a speed in megaBYTES per second, not just megaBITS.

Sadly, it’s not a nice, neat conversion: 8 bits makes up 1 byte. 1 megabit equals just 0.125 Megabytes, which doesn’t make fun mental arithmetic, so here’s a converter to help you out one you know your internet speed. Now that you can make the conversions, you can compare file sizes to connection speed to understand how long a specific task will take.

For example, let’s say a website you are trying to load is 1.5 Megabytes (MB). If your connection speed is a modest 12 megabits per second (Mbps), when converted it’s exactly 1.5 megabytes per second, so theoretically the website should load in one second. A bigger file like an 800 megabyte video download would take nearly 9 minutes on that same connection. Therefore it makes sense that someone who downloads bigger files more often would benefit from a faster speed plan.

Real life examples

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If all these numbers have your head spinning, fear not; the math portion of this article has come to an end. Understanding each specific size doesn’t matter too much; what’s more important is knowing which are the most data heavy activities that require higher speed connections to flow fluidly. Then you can compare your personal usage to the speed of connection you will need.

Tasks like web browsing, basic emailing (without large file attachments), short period Skype calls and light YouTube viewing do not require a very fast connection. If this sounds like your level of usage, you probably don’t need more than a 12Mbps speed connection.

If you indulge in online gaming, regular but modest HD streaming and moderate downloading, a plan up to 25Mbps will suit your needs better.

If you’re gaming, streaming and downloading heavily on multiple devices you will want a connection speed somewhere in the 25 – 60Mbps range.

If you’re downloading, streaming and gaming non-stop on a large number of devices, that’s when you’ll need to look at something in the 60-100Mbps zone.

So when considering your next plan, ask yourself: what sort of activities you will be using the connection for? How data-intensive are those activities? How frequently you will engage in these activities? And how many devices will be using the connection?

Slowing factors and Troubleshooting

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Now what if you’re a light Internet user signed up to an adequate 12Mbps connection plan, but you’re still struggling to load webpages in under a minute? Unfortunately Internet speeds are not an exact art, and there are a number of factors which can influence or affect the speed you receive:

  • There may be an issue with the device you are trying to access the internet on, such as your phone, tablet or PC.
  • If there are too many people trying to use the internet at the same time of day it can cause congestion, which slows down the connection for everyone competing for the bandwidth.
  • If you’re using an older or cheaper router, it may have limited capability, and be delivering slower speeds than you should be receiving.
  • Viruses or other harmful software could be slowing you down on your device.
  • The strength of the WiFi network within your home may be limiting your speed.

If you’re not experiencing your desired speed, troubleshooting can help weed out the cause of the issue. iiNet provides handy iiHelp articles instructing how to perform trouble shooting on broadband connections, NBN connections, browsing and more. If you’ve exhausted all troubleshooting options, you can get extra assistance by calling our Support Team on 13 22 58.

139 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s maths, not math

  2. Shane says:

    Good article, but when I pay for a business broadband service I would have thought I wouldnt be competing with the thousands of “schoolies” watching Stan or downloading movies or music

  3. Jacko says:

    I think you mean 9 minutes not 9 hours for that 800Mb file download.

    And I am one of those forgotten regional customers who can only get ADSL1 at 1.5Mbps if I am lucky and the wind is blowing in the right direction. Today’s apps, streaming services and Apple’s iOs updates just assume we are all on super fast broadband. I wish – and would do anything for just a simple ADSL 2 plan at even 5-10Mbps… Not iiNet’s fault, it is all Telstra.

  4. Chris Barrie says:

    What this article says is why you should be disappointed if, like me, you pay for two accounts one each in separate cities, using iinet wireless routers and cannot find any promise on nbn rollout plans over the next 3 years for any changes in speeds delivering about half what I pay for in download speed and only 1023kbs in upload speeds…
    To finish the point that we live in a 3rd world country even in Greece internet speeds are 4 times better than they are in Sydney or Canberra.
    Our national productivity is seriously at risk in the modern world through ineptitude and a lack of action in this regard. If we were truly connected like in some other Asian cities it would not even be necessary to have posted this article…

  5. Jim says:

    Actually it is “mathematics”. The North americans talk about maths and math.

  6. since I am retired , therefore time is not money buT I do get very frustrated with trying to watch a3-4 minute youtube which displays 10secs waits 15secs before the nexr 10 secs displays – any suggestions?

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s math. Go back to school Anonymous!

  8. vince says:

    Well this article wasnt mean for me. I used to get a meserly 3.5Mbps now i only just get 2.9 Mbps you tube is hardly worth watching. And my son swear at his computer trying to games.

  9. Garin says:

    Well its nice to know my iiNet ADSL2 service only delivers 1/3 (4.5MBs) of the 12MB/s service that is recommended for doing light Skype and youtube, as for the NBN I reckon I’ll be dead before that arrives.

  10. jb says:

    9 hours to download 800MB at 1.5MB/s??
    I used to enjoy reading the Iinet blog for the quality of the information. Think I’ll get my information elsewhere.

  11. David Hallmann says:

    “A bigger file like an 800 megabyte video download would take nearly 9 hours.” ???

    Let’s see now to download 800MB at 1.5MB per second = 533 seconds.
    Which means it will take 533 or 8.883 minutes to download that file.
    A file that takes 9 hours to download would be 21.6 GigaBytes.

  12. David Hallmann says:

    The biggest problem for all users is just not about downloads but also uploads, that’s where it all falls apart. What’s the point of shifting large files around when your upload speed is in the 100 KiloBytes region.
    To use your example of the 800MB video file it would take it 2 hours and 12 minutes to upload. Serious gamers, sorry.

  13. Nigel says:

    How short is a goldfish?

  14. Foxy says:

    Who gets a a ‘modest’ 12 Mbps? I am on iiNet ADSL2+ (Palmyra exchange), using a Bob router from iiNet and the best I can get is 6-7 Mbps. If 12 is modest, does that make 6-7 downright shameful?

  15. Luke says:

    Wouldn’t an 800MB download take nearly 9 minutes with a 12Mb/s connection, not 9 hours? Apart from that, well written and thought out article!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Math and maths are equally acceptable abbreviations of mathematics. The only difference is that math is preferred in the U.S. and Canada, and maths is preferred in the U.K., Australia, and most other English-speaking areas of the world.

  17. Lost customer says:

    Interesting article, pity the decision makers at iiNet haven’t read it. My speeds changed from a consistent 5Mbps to a dismal 2Mbps only two months after TPG acquired iiNet.

    Australia has lost a once good telecommunications company, RIP iinet. TPG/iiNet will lose busines due to their poor service and lack of respect for customers.

    I’m off to the devil, Telstra! Prefer to pay more money to receive a respectable internet speed than be lied to and downgraded without being informed or reason.

  18. Joel says:

    Your maths is wrong, downloading 800MB at 1.5 MB/s is nearly 9 minutes not hours. 9 hours is closer to dialup speeds!

  19. Jean-Marc says:

    Wrong.

    800/1.5=533 SECONDS = 9 MINUTES, not HOURS

    and I would really be happy with a “modest” 12 Mbps ADSL connection!

  20. Michael says:

    I’m afraid your maths needs some brushing up :-)
    At 1.5 megabytes per second an 800 megabyte file would take nearly 9 MINUTES, not 9 hours!
    I’d also like to say that because of “overheads” in networks, the maximum download rate in megabytes per sec can never actually be 1/8 of the connection speed. A better estimate is to divide by 10, not 8, which is much easier and doesn’t need a converter!

  21. Anonymous says:

    An 800MB file at 1.5MB/sec will take approx. 9 minutes, not 9 hours.

  22. Julie says:

    Can you explain why upload speed is so much slower than download speed?

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi Julie,

      A great question! The vast majority of internet activities rely on downloading, such as loading webpages, checking social media, watching video, downloading files etc. Compared to this there are relatively fewer activities reliant on uploads, such as email attachments, posting to social media, uploading Youtube videos, and file sharing.

      As the total available bandwidth is shared between download and upload, a high priority is given to downloads in order to benefit the majority of activities that will be taking place. For businesses grade services which rely on uploads a technology called Annex M is available to boost upload speed, but this has a significant cost to download. More info here: https://iihelp.iinet.net.au/Annex_M_FAQ

      – Christian

  23. Phil Seakins says:

    Dude, you certainly are a “child of the nineties”. Your speed calculation is way off. For the figures stated, your 800MB video download will take 9 minutes, not 9 hours as you stated.

  24. Micheal says:

    Good article for the masses.
    I’m not sure if many people are concerned with much more than why their internet speed is not keeping up with their devices and would often point to the ISP rather than the other factors involved.
    Good job and thank you for the article.

  25. Ian says:

    Actually, it is math, but never mind.

    The other thing is that while there 8 bits is 1 byte, it is essentially serial communications and so there is an overhead. This is generally 2 bits (one stop bit and one parity check bit). This makes the conversion a little easier as it is a factor of 10 to convert a speed of Megabits/second to Megabytes per second.

  26. Aponymous says:

    You are correct bAnoin. Maths is our word, math is the American version. Its short for mathematics, see the “S” on the end.

  27. Roger says:

    All good and well, unless you’re reliant on two-way satellite for your NBN – woefully slow, due to over subscription of the Singtel satellite (akin to dial-up). Hope the new satellite, once in service, is an improvement for all us rural subscribers.
    Don’t forget there are Australians NOT living in urban areas, who don’t have mobile phone reception or fibre to the node connection. Perhaps consider penning something relevant to us?

  28. Bob H says:

    The problem with speed is we no longer have a backbone that can deliver a reliable speed due to the use of old copper from the node to the premises.

    If the upload speed to the net is from some one who has a 12/1Mbps plan then the fastest you can download from them is 1Mbps. Your speed capability therefore is only half the story.

    One of the reasons that the Fibre to the Premises plan was so appealing was that the speeds advertised were achievable with no variation apart from that imposed by RSPs. The same isn’t achievable on the current FTTN configuration.

  29. tony says:

    It would only take 9 minutes NOT 9 hours to download the 800MB movie.

  30. Steve says:

    Your calculations are soooo wrong! When you download an 800 megabyte file at 1.5 megabytes per second, it is nearly 9 minutes – not 9 hours. Who does the proof reading and validation of your articles?

    Very poor journalism.

  31. Mark Harris says:

    When will nbn satellite speeds be reasonable?
    At the moment they are a waste of time!

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi Mark,

      We are crossing our fingers that the new NBN satellites will launch in 2016, as currently expected. This will boost the capacity and potentially lead to some changes down the line. Keep an eye on our blog and webpage for any developments.

      – Christian

  32. len smith says:

    Whatever happened to TIPS
    trillions of instructions per second
    nobody talks about that anymore today it’s
    all about speed and download time do we assume that we will have infinite very high
    speed capacity?

  33. Jeni says:

    Good article. Understand the maths and bits and bytes. What still confuses me is after choosing a plan and paying the monthly fee (no issue here) it is rare that you have access to the agreed internet speed from the ISP and you have very little recourse

  34. Robert says:

    Seriously iinet don’t get someone who can’t do basic mathematics to write a technical article about calculating internet speeds. Downloading an 800 megabyte video file over a 12 megabit per second link should take in the vicinity of 9 minutes, not 9 hours.

    And what is the point of trying to make division and multiplication sound hard?

  35. Terry says:

    I am not sure about your conversion calculations.
    Is a 1 megabyte file sent in one piece?
    I thought that the file is sent in “packets” of data, each with start and finish control characters. This would add something to the size of the transmission.
    How much bigger would that make the file?
    Also, I have satellite which was offered at “1 meg”. Bits or Bytes, who knows.
    My connection was tested by one of your nice techs one day and it seemed to run at 256-400 kb/sec. Bits or Bytes.
    He said a performance of a third of that offered is deemed acceptable.
    So with a slow connection, extra data control characters, re-sends for transmission errors…
    Who could tell what result I would expect?

  36. Jan says:

    Great article, thanks Cahli :)

  37. David says:

    “It’s maths, not math” It’s not wrong, it’s just another creeping Americanisation of the language, if the author had spell check on Australian English it would have showed up as a mistake.

    What is the point in telling people the they need 60 – 100Mbps for streaming or downloading etc. when for large numbers of clients that is not even an option. The fixed wireless 50/20 nbn speed has been available for several months but iiNet can’t be bothered offering it as a plan so they deliberately limit FW users to 25/5. When I rang iiNet billing to inquire about when the 50/20 plans would take effect I didn’t get an answer, I got an interrogation on “why do you need faster internet?” – I would have thought that was my business not iiNets.

  38. Gary says:

    Shane,

    You don’t get a separate line from your premises to each and every Web server in the world with the Internet.

    Your data is broken into “packets” which contain the address of the destination (your router/computer) and shares the pipe with the rest of the world.

    Another Factor which an slow speeds us how heavily the server is used. e.g. if there is a major news event streamed live from the ABC, and millions of people are watching it, that could cause the servers to struggle to deliver the data.

    What you are paying for in your business package is a fast connection to the Web, priority service in tech support and priory response in the event of failure.

  39. JHB says:

    Lol – I think the Maths is wrong. If a 1 MB file takes 1 second. Then an 800 MB file would take 800 seconds = 13 mins and 20 seconds, not 9 hours!!

  40. Alan says:

    Anonymous is correct, In Australian English dictionaries the abbreviation of mathematics is “maths”, not the American term of math.
    Secondly, the correct calculation renders a result of nearly 9 minutes, not 9 hours. So Cahli can’t do “maths”.
    Thirdly, the first part of the article reads as though the target audience is 10 years old.

  41. Steve says:

    ‘If your connection speed is a modest 12 megabits per second’ If only, due to old copper cable to my residence my speed never gets over 4.5 megabits per second. Drops to under 2 in winter when water enters the cable joints. NBN should be called ‘not in my lifetime’ Netflix etc not for me, speed too slow.

  42. Stephen says:

    Downloading 800 megabytes at 1.5 megabytes per second would take nearly 9 mins, not 9 hours.

  43. Larry Dunn says:

    Good article.
    However, your math is incorrect.
    In the example given, it would take nearly 9 minutes to download the 800Mb file, not 9 hours

  44. Curious says:

    How do you know if it’s your computer or internet connection slowing things down?

  45. Gareth says:

    I have the same comment as Shane. On a 50Mbps NBN plan I thought my research after hours (7-10 pm) would be fast and responsive. Not so. Sometimes speeds even less than my old dial up. Apparently congestion of the network (not my internal) is my problem. I thought NBN was going to solve this. Frustrating when we are paying for the speed.

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi Gareth,

      While congestion can rear it’s ugly head even on NBN technologies in some locations, upgrades are regularly scheduled to alleviate this. Please speak to our Fibre team directly on 1300 455 806 (6am-5pm WST Mon-Fri) and they can discuss further.

      – Christian

  46. Waz says:

    9 hours for 800 MB?

    That’s dial up speed

  47. Carlo says:

    I think 9 hours is a typo, it’s actually around 9 minutes

  48. david kemp says:

    What about Satelitte customers, we are still on 20 gb and slow.Its bloody useless. What about some extra d/loads and improved speed.

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi David,

      We are expecting some changes on the Satellite front may be available when NBN launch additional satellites. Currently this is expected for 2016. Keep an eye on our site and blog for more news when we have it!

      – Christian

  49. Eric says:

    How long is a Goldfish? :-)

  50. Staf says:

    Bring on the NBN…oh wait Malcom destroyed it (as Tony asked him to)

  51. Richie says:

    Hello. Good reading. Does Westnet intend to increase the NBN wireless speed to 50mbps soon? I see NBN has increase speeds and some ISP’s are now increase speeds. Any news would be great. Cheers Richie

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi Richie,

      No current changes regarding NBN wireless plan changes. Keep an eye on our webpage and blog, we’ll sure to make an announcement should we have info in the future.

      – Christian

  52. Anonymous 2 says:

    Math vs. maths

    Math and maths are equally acceptable abbreviations of mathematics. The only difference is that math is preferred in the U.S. and Canada, and maths is preferred in the U.K., Australia, and most other English-speaking areas of the world.

    Neither abbreviation is correct or incorrect. You may hear arguments for one being superior to the other, and there are logical cases for both sides. One could argue maths is better because mathematics ends in s, and one could argue math is better because mathematics is just a mass noun that happens to end in s. In any case, English usage is rarely guided by logic, and these usage idiosyncrasies are often arbitrary. If you were raised in a part of the world where people say maths, then maths is correct for you, and the same is of course true of math. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.

  53. Wal says:

    Nicely laid out, clever consideration given to the readers attention span. I like the way she applied the
    K I S system.

  54. Mike says:

    Maybe I’ve misunderstood. If a 12Mbps connection can download 1.5MB in a single second, why does it take 9hours to down load 800MB? 12mbps @1.5MB for 800MB = 533 seconds. Thanks not 9hours.

  55. Ben says:

    At that speed, the 800 Mb file would take around 9 mins, not 9 hours.

  56. Wyn says:

    Thanks for the article. I think it should read 9 minutes not 9 hours here though “A bigger file like an 800 megabyte video download would take nearly 9 hours on that same connection.”

  57. TB says:

    That was as clear as Mud!

  58. njn says:

    “If your connection speed is a modest 12 megabits per second (Mbps), when converted it’s exactly 1.5 megabytes per second, so theoretically the website should load in one second. A bigger file like an 800 megabyte video download would take nearly 9 hours on that same connection.”

    800 MB divided by 1.5 MB/s is 533.33 seconds, which is nearly 9 *minutes*, not 9 *hours*.

  59. Peter Southgate says:

    Someone needs to go back to school to relearn their maths. Is it me or is it the author? In the download speed example above, he states that a 1.5MB file should theoretically load in 1 second based on a modest 12Mbps download speed. He then goes on to say that a 800MB video will therefore take nearly 9 hours at that speed. My reckoning says 800 ÷ 1.5 = 533.33 seconds or nearly 9 minutes.

  60. Ian says:

    If there are too many people trying to use the internet at the same time of day it can cause congestion, which slows down the connection for everyone competing for the bandwidth.

    This surely would be an ISP problem if they offer free download of movies and the like when they do not provide enough bandwidth.

  61. Ron says:

    “In our world the faster something can be done the better” may be OK for computing, but, as a general rule for life it can be disastrous. If faster internet speeds mean more time for personal interaction, reflection and creativity – great! But if it just means more time for more addiction to online distractions…

  62. Stephen says:

    Yes, the article is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t tell us how we can get a faster broadband service. In discussions with Westnet support I’ve been told 4Mbs download and 0.7Mbs upload are a good result! Clearly this is nowhere near the 12Mbs you cite as OK for ‘basic’ activities, let alone anything more impressive.
    When I look for other broadband plans, they all focus on monthly quota, but I can’t find anywhere information about how to get faster broadband on my plan. Can that be explained, please?

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi Stephen,

      ADSL speed is determined by a number of physical factors, principally your cable distance from the local exchange and the quality of the copper line itself. If you’re on an ADSL2 plan then there is no artificial limit being placed on the service, with the line being allowed to run as fast as the technology permits. Given what you’ve reported the advice from our support team has been, it’s likely your speed is in line with what we’d expect for your address.

      Do you know if NBN will be rolling out to your area in the next year or so? You can check the current plan here: http://www.iinet.net.au/internet/broadband/nbn/coverage/

      – Christian

  63. Wayne Mill says:

    Really impressed with this helpful and informative article that is written in a Very straight forward manner.
    Thanks

  64. squish says:

    tl;dr: divide by eight. That’s the math/maths (either is fine).

  65. Dudley Maier says:

    She’s right to fear mathematics. An 800 megabyte file will take about 9 minutes to download at 1.5 megabytes per second – not 9 hours!

  66. Richard says:

    Our download speed is between 1.5 – 2.8mbps. Most of the time streaming from Netflix or stan is fine. So I’m not sure how this works with your suggestions. The other comment I have is it is what it is ….because of our location it is the best iinet can provide.
    Regards

  67. chippie says:

    need more speed….please advise best deal on my usage thanks

    • Brianna Burgess says:

      Depends on the services available at your premises, Chippie. We’d recommend jumping on our website to see what broadband services and plans are available: http://www.iinet.net.au/internet/

      Don’t hesitate to give our Sales (13 19 17) team a buzz if you need assistance determining which plan is best suited to your needs.

      – Brianna

  68. Pedant says:

    How short is a goldfish? You mean goldfish’s.

  69. Brabo says:

    You may want to check your maths – should be just under 9 minutes for a 800M file. NOT 9 Hours!

  70. Steven says:

    First, “data” is a plural word, so we get THOSE data, not that data.

    Second, if a 1.5MB page downloads in 1 second, an 800MB video should, theoretically, download in 800/1.5 = 533 seconds, not 9 hours.

    Third, we should all know that wireless networks are less reliable, and slower, than a cabled equivalent, assuming there isn’t a problem with the hardware in use, so a way to speed up most home networks is to cable units back to the router. That’s also far more secure.

  71. Wayne Schuttloffel says:

    I hope your maths teacher does not read this. You quote “A bigger file like an 800 megabyte video download would take nearly 9 hours on that same connection” This is incorrect as it would be less than 9 minutes not hours.
    I realise that it probably would not actually be quite a true conversion but I know from using the internet for over 20 years that it would be in this vicinity.

  72. John says:

    Many times when I am on YouTube and it starts buffering I get a message saying check your provider. Not sure where these messages come from but I have noticed my Bud lite modem does drop out on a regular basis. I have thought of purchasing a different modem, but people tell me it is a problem with overloads on iinet.

  73. Norton Geller says:

    When will we get NBN in Parkerille WA? The NBN website can’t even tell us when they will announce the date.

  74. Nicole Ray says:

    It would be nice to have an article on NBN, does it just come in, does one pay more for it, what is it.

  75. Steve says:

    I’m still downloading the schema in this article, after having read it through twice. NBN satellite is a most unfortunate option for those with no other options.

  76. Ron says:

    Sadly, what should be is simply not. I signed up for the fastest broadband available. The reality is, I get not much better than the old modem speeds, ie. 185kbts per second max. Even though iinet advertise “up to 22,000 per second. We are stuck with the old copper phone lines and the NBN will never happen in my lifetime, it’s a hoax.

  77. Anonymous says:

    I think your ‘modest connection speeed of 12Mbps’ is pretty much what most people can get through your ‘high speed ADSL’, so what is it in your terms ? Modest or high speed ?

  78. Bert says:

    An interesting article, but it doesn’t consider real life situations and every day living with NBN Co’s “third world” FTTN system. This article assumes that connection speeds are consistent. Maybe that occurs in some parallel universe but not here in Australia. At times d/l speeds can fall well below 10Mbps so you need a top speed plan to cope with the inconsistencies and shortcomings of an NBN FTTN connection. That way you can actually get something accomplished when the d/l speeds do return back to higher levels.
    I am a child of the 1960’s so I know what patience is, but NBN’s current service will stretch anyone’s levels of tolerance.

  79. Glenn Wilson says:

    So when iinet say that have slowed my connection to 128 kb/sec why then do they try and suggest that this actually means “Up to 128 kb/sec. Plus it is also impossible to upload an email with attachments. Someone is tryong to pul the cyberwool over our eyes here….

  80. Guy says:

    You should review your maths or use a calculator because on a 1.5 megabytes per second connection, an 800 megabytes video download would take nearly 9 minutes, not 9 hours!

  81. Kathy says:

    I’m with Shane our Business in Wangara would be just grateful for a system that doesn’t drop out on a regular basis every day.

  82. anonymous says:

    800 megabytes downloading at 1.5 megabytes per second, isn’t that 20 mins not 9 hours, or is my maths really off?

  83. James says:

    12mbps is adequate? What about satellite users who are limited to 6Mbps? When will the new satellite be usable?

    • Christian Polson-Brown says:

      Hi James,

      We are currently expecting development with the NBN satellite service after the scheduled launch of additional satellites in 2016. We’ll be sure to update our site and blog when there is further info!

      – Christian

  84. Mike says:

    Samata,
    I think your maths is wrong – the 800MB download will take more like 1 hour than 9 hours with the 12Mb link speed you describe.
    Unfortunately data transfer works as defined by physics and exact maths that reflects more than just the link speed.

  85. J,Chandra says:

    Hi
    I am Jordan Springs customer. I really don’t know whether what I am paying is for a real Broadband Service !

    The cost have to come down if its via an ADSL Router connected to Opticom Fibre Network !!

  86. John says:

    It is Math in USA and Canada. It is Maths in England and most other english speaking countries. Either version is correct.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Gee I cant even get a constant speed of 3.34 mpbs. As for only needing 25 to download a program how many hours do you expect it to take. I haven’t seen 60 + for nearly a year.

  88. breygate says:

    800MB taking 9 hours on a 12Mb/s link ????? More like 9 minutes

  89. Haydn says:

    Is the maths in this example correct? If 1.5 megabytes loads in 1 second then surely 800 megabytes would load in 534 seconds or just under 9 minutes. Not 9 hrs.

  90. Anonymous says:

    An 800 megabyte file at 12mbps (1.5mbps) would take almost 9 minutes, not 9 hours.

    This article does not seem relevant to the vast majority of iinet customers who do not have access to speeds up to 100mbps (at least for several years until the NBN). The only option I have with iinet is ADSL which in my case provides around 10mbps. Based on this article, for my usage a higher speed would be suitable which can only be provided by a competitor on Cable internet.

  91. Campbell says:

    Interesting article, none of which helps me. I am on satellite internet with westnet and I can’t do a fricken thing to increase my internet as this company seems to have zero skilled operators to help me increase my data amounts. Pathetic

  92. Vern says:

    I like your suggestion of a modest connection speed being 12 Mbps. I am currently getting 0.61 Mbps. It would be great to have the modest 12 Mbps.

  93. Gordon Adams says:

    I only wish to get 12Mbps….
    Speedtest measures me at 3.43Mbps on this ADSL2 line in the Melbourne suburbs, terrible!!
    I used to get about 17Mbps on my ADSL1 line at my previous home.
    Telstra tells me they can offer better because they own the line and have control over it especially when leasing the line out to providers such as Westnet, iiNet, TPG etc.

  94. Warren Beswick says:

    I am confused about the download time for an 800Mb file.
    Should it only take about 600 times longer than a 1.5 Mb file? If so , 600 times 1 second would be 10 minutes, not 9 hours.
    I am probably wrong, but it should be easy to check that you are right.

  95. Ross says:

    My brain hurts!!!

  96. George says:

    Your example of downloading a 800 Mbyte video using a 12 Mbits speed does not take almost 9 hours as you claim. It takes only almost 9 minutes or 533.3 seconds to be more precise. Quite a difference !

  97. Simon says:

    800 Megabytes on a 1.2 Megabyte per second connection is 11 minutes down load time not 9 hours.

  98. Dan Freeman says:

    I think you mean it will take 8.8minutes to download a 800MB file, not almost 9 hours.

  99. Speccyiiii's says:

    You’re wrong… ‘Math’ is correct, ‘Maths’ is incorrect.

  100. John Moody says:

    I think it is almost 9 minutes in the example and not 9 hours.

  101. Peter Falconer says:

    How many people in perth are actually receiving a “modest” internet connection?

    Not sure if this article is a stab at telstra to improve our lines, a stab at NBN to speed up fibre installations or arrogance by iinet to be so blind to real world connections in perth.

    Of most people i speak to their speeda are somewhere between 1 and 8Mbps. In 2016 in a first world country this is crippling for business and unacceptable for the greater population.

    Sort the internet out Australia its our shame!

  102. Brad says:

    Unless I’m missing something, in your ‘Speed conversions AKA “The Boring Bit”‘, using the conversion in your first example, I calculate your second example to equal 8.889 minutes, not hours! AKA ‘Worrying.’

  103. stephanie says:

    Have to agree with Shane. Some times of the day I am unable to get broadband or if on Skype the connection drops out up to 10 times in an hour.

    Sorry – that doesn’t seem right for a paying customer.

    • Brianna Burgess says:

      We can appreciate stability issues can be quite frustrating, Stephanie. We’d recommend giving our Support (13 22 58) team a buzz to investigate! A Customer Service Representative will be able to guide you through a series of troubleshooting steps to diagnose the cause. If the troubleshooting does not provide any relief, we can explore the option of lodging a fault for technician attendance.

      – Brianna

  104. James says:

    Did you mean 9 minutes, not hours, when you talked about downloading a video? (If 1.5 megabytes takes 1 second, 800 megabytes would take 800/1.5 = 533 seconds)

  105. Phil says:

    9 hours to down load a 800MB file. I think that someone needs to check their maths.

  106. Anonymous says:

    Don’t you mean 9 minutes to download an 800 MB file at 12 mbps?

  107. James says:

    Your maths is wrong. The download of 8oo mega bytes takes nearly 9 minutes, not 9 hours.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Pity someone technical did not review this and fix the errors. Firstly, data packets transmitted contain more than the data (IP address and packet information are included).
    So a rough figure would be 1 MegByte of data would involve 10 megbits of transmission. Secondly, if 1.5 MB can be transmitted in 1 second, 90 MB would take 1 minute and 800 MB would be about 9 minutes. not 9 HOURS.

    Bad look iiNet

  109. peter williams says:

    iinet (TPG) have lost the plot.
    When viewed at 24th January 2016, all iinet NBN plans include Netphone which not everyone wants and do not want to pay for, but now have no choice.
    iinet (TPG) plans do not offer the NBN
    Tier 3 speeds. i.e. 25Mbps down 10 Mbps up, and
    Tier 4 speeds, i.e. 50Mbps down 20 Mbps up.
    iinet was like a breath of fresh air, simple easy to understand plans. No unwanted extras. A good range of speed and data choice. Sadly this is no longer the case. I only hope that someone starts a NEW ISP like the old iinet. It was such a refreshing change while it lasted.

  110. Eldon Rosenberg says:

    … And I’m here on behalf of your maths teachers to give you a FAIL for your little conversion example! That would be 9 minutes, not hours! :-)

  111. John Wilkinson says:

    Interesting – I’ve been told that my speed of 5mbps is perfectly fine for metro Melbourne by your techs. Might need to use this article to get the problem sorted!!

  112. Garin Taylor says:

    Odd my comment seems to have been deleted, was it just because I said that my asdl2 service doesn’t come close to any of these figures – 4.5mb/s…

  113. Garin Taylor says:

    Oops sorry it appears my original comment was awaiting moderation, my apologies

  114. Angus says:

    My iiNet ADSL speed was 0.5 Mbps. I complained to Iinet they got Telstra to “fix” the telephone line. No improvement to internet speed.
    Iinet rang and told me the problem was fixed.
    I got line renewed from Telstra connection point to phone socket – Iinet internet speed increased to 3.5 Mbps.
    Iinet’s ADSL2 is a joke when you read the above article.

  115. Larry says:

    Good, informative article. Thanks.

  116. Petre says:

    You forgot to mention things like contention and the fact that there are already areas that are on the NBN that are receiving less that 1/10 of their selected speed due to contention

  117. Wal says:

    mine is only 2.7mbs. I am on an adsl2 naked plan. I want to watch a program thru my TV. Can i assume that this is to slow????

  118. Lyn Kosmer says:

    Thanks for the information – de-mystifies the world of Bits and Bytes !

  119. Marion says:

    Slow downloads are also caused by old infrastructure that still exists. A lot of regional subscribers are waiting impatiently for updates to the cabling.

  120. Rob says:

    Just to add to the nonsense about Math versus Maths; when an abbreviation does not end with the same letter that ends the word being abbreviated, that abbreviation must end with a full stop (or period to USAphiles). Does we get Math. and Maths either of which is correct with Math. being the preferred usage in North America and Maths in Britain Aus. etc.

    However the calculations in question are neither Math., Maths nor mathemetics but are merely simple arithmetic.

  121. FH says:

    Well, a lot of you have pretty good speeds compared to my regional area. A 1.3Mb/sec for downloads is max, per the IINet landline, without prospect of improvement. At worst, the speed drops to 400Kb/sec. Interestingly though, on Telstra wireless broadband 7-10Mb/sec download speed is usual. Pity the cost is prohibitive. NBN doesn’t seem to be on the horizon either.

  122. Wade Cuthbertson says:

    As a Canadian who moved to Australia 4 years ago, and is Australian by birth….I always find Australian’s rigorous debate over “maths” and “math” to be both amusing and quite ironic. Australians have managed to abbreviate (shorten with -ie suffixes) and bastardise more of the English language than the enormous populations of both Canada and the US (comparatively) have ever done….yet this one little word is always the one that everyone gets all self-righteous about. And in the era of using lazy shortcuts such as “u r” (you are) instead of proper, complete words….can we maybe leave Maths and Math alone and focus on what are obviously way more significant attacks on the integrity of the English language??

  123. FC says:

    I was recently speaking to a installer of the NBN who can’t for the life of him understand why fiber optics aren’t direct to the home. He told me recently that one lucky suburb that has fiber to the home only needs one junction box for the whole suburb and is quick and easy to install to the home. Three companies were involved in the process.Now (This will get you thinking)at each junction box will be placed a secondry box about two meters away which will recieve the fiber cables then convert the signal. They then need to connect the old fashioned copper wire to the original junction box, sounds a lot more complicated doesn’t it.Oh by the way there are now twelve companies involed in the process. You tell me how this is cheaper and that certain pollies don’t have their fingers in the pie,and if you do happen to have one of these fiber junction boxes outside your home you won’t be able to connect fiber directly to your home.Not possible the man told me.

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