Internet Service Providers forum

General discussion

Real Impact of Differences in Internet Connection Speeds

by jerseyrock / March 2, 2010 4:22 AM PST

Want to quantify difference between a 15Mbps and a 25Mbps connection in real terms. I guess 25Mbps is in theory 66% faster than 15Mbps -- but what will that really mean to me on a day-to-day basis?

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Real Impact of Differences in Internet Connection Speeds
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Real Impact of Differences in Internet Connection Speeds
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Not a lot
by bill012 / March 2, 2010 9:58 PM PST

Mostly the difference is it cost more money. I assume you are talking dsl,cable etc. This is all shared bandwidth and the rates are maximum burst rates. Nobody really gets those speeds. Even for dedicated corporate connection where the bandwidth is contractual guaranteed there are many issues

The other primary limitation is the distance to a site which normally a ping give you a good representation. It measures all network delays but most are related to distance.

A rough method to calculate the maximum possible speed you can transfer is to ping he site and then divide 512/ping time.

This will give you megabits per seconds and is related to what is called the window size which limits the amount of traffic that can be sent a time.

So if you have a 150ms ping time you get 3.4m/sec to use 15m you would need a ping time of 35ms and to use 25m you would need 20ms.
You normally don't see low delays like this except in private network.

The only way to get more is run a multiple transfers at the same time or be running multiple computers behind it. Still even then this relates to large transfers. Web pages have lots of very tiny items in them which causes all the overhead delays to not allow you to use the bandwidth.

I suspect most users will not see much difference for anything above 5m.

Collapse -
But What If...
by jerseyrock / March 2, 2010 11:38 PM PST
In reply to: Not a lot


I get it that I will probably never get the full 25Mbps or the full 15Mbps. I gather you think I'll be lucky to get over 5Mbps no matter what 'up to' rating they sold me.

But, assuming somehow I did actually get a full 25Mbps connection, how much of a difference would I notice between that and a full 15 Mbps connection?

Collapse -
by bill012 / March 2, 2010 11:49 PM PST
In reply to: But What If...

For most application nothing.

Only huge file transfers would show a difference and then you have to be very close to the location.

Latency in the path will wipe out any increase in bandwidth. It is a speed of light thing.

This problem is generally called LONG FAT PIPE and it too complex to describe on a forum like this.

For general web surfing they will most likely be exactly the same.

Collapse -
Close To Location (?)
by jerseyrock / March 2, 2010 11:59 PM PST
In reply to: .

Thanks again.

Fios and Optimum-on-Line are my choices.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by being 'close to the location'. Can you explain?

Collapse -
by bill012 / March 3, 2010 1:38 AM PST
In reply to: Close To Location (?)

It is the ping time. London is further from say chicago than kansas city is from chicago and will have a larger ping time.

Best example I can give is say you had a pile of dirt to move and a truck. The truck can only drive say 60MPH (speed of light on circuit).

If it take 5 trips to move the dirt and the distance is 60 mile round trip it will take you 5 hours to move the dirt. If the distance is 120 miles it will take you will take you 10 hours.

Now increasing the bandwidth from in your case 15m to 25m would be the same as adding more lanes to the road. Since the distance is still the same and the truck can only go the same speed and the truck size is the same you will not get done any faster.

Collapse -
by jerseyrock / March 3, 2010 2:21 AM PST
In reply to: latency

And you are talking about the distance between me and the website from which I am downloading -- NOT the distance between me and the local verizon office or server. Right?

Collapse -
by bill012 / March 3, 2010 2:31 AM PST
In reply to: Distance


Collapse -
by NickSwift / October 5, 2010 3:01 AM PDT
In reply to: But What If...

Not to knock the glass half empty guy but the Internet connection I have is a broadband phone line and the connection speed hardly wavers whether I download from Cali or here in Florida I'll lose about 1 or 2Mbps per 2k miles. I have a 10 Mbps and get about 1.4 MBps to 1.6 MBps dl from places like steam which I can only attribute to my ISP using over bandwidth to give me the advertised connection.

It is nice to get a 6gig game in a hour or so and I'm upgradeing to the 25Mbps soon so I should be able to get a game that size in just over half a hour. Not to mention most high quality sites don't really have a DL speed cap which is nice so you can get a movie or two and dl a game and play a online game and still get each individual thing faster than someone on a 3Mbps connection.

There are some other things that can however mess you up. If you are in a big city, Dl from a busy site, bad weather in areas can knock down lines or screw things up and lower the speed. So when you get it, go to and test your connection with a bunch of diffrent servers. You will start to notice that if there is a slow down in connection speed it's sometimes on the other end and not your ISPs fault.

Collapse -
by NickSwift / October 5, 2010 3:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Hello
Collapse -
What wil it mean?
by WaCableTech / October 5, 2010 11:41 PM PDT

It will depend entirely on how you use your network.

Buying a corvette is nice, but if you drive in a school zone 90% of the time, your wasting the car, money, and gas.

So do you download large amounts of data on a regular basis? And no browsing the web to read articles/forums/etc is not large mounts of data, I mean watching videos/movies/downloading linux distro, etc here.

If not nothing. I work for CC, the most common misconception customers have is more speed = better game play for online games. No game uses anywhere near 12MB of bandwidth. None of them use anywhere near 1.5MB to be honest and that's DSL'
s average speed. What counts for games and interactive services is latency, and stability.

So again it depends on what you are going to do with the internet.

Collapse -
In Gaming Terms
by techie_bro / March 6, 2013 5:14 AM PST
In reply to: What wil it mean?

I am curious what this means in gameplay or theory. If i were to get 86 average ping in a game with 256kbps internet what would that translate into in 10mbps, 25mbps, 50mbps, and 70mbps, cause those are the speeds that im looking at the present time.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

CNET Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for great gifts under $100?

Trendy tech gifts don't require a hefty price tag. Choose from these CNET-recommended useful and high-quality gadgets.