Byte Me Article 145 – What downloads do you need?

What Downloads Do You Need?

Last week we wrote about the now happening NBN debacle and looked at exactly how inferior and redundant it is to be considering fibre to the node as opposed to the original NBN idea of fibre to the very doorstep of Australian premises.  This week we expand on the subject of downloads and explore a topic that we get asked everyday – ‘how much download do I need’?

Your download amount is a measure of how much Internet based information that has been received by your computer or computers during the month.  When you browse the Internet the images (whether it be text or pictures) that you see on the screen is all data that has come through your Internet connection.  If you receive an email then that too was made up of downloaded data.  If you download a picture, a song or a movie then this too has been transferred to you by a download of Internet data to your PC.  Some plans also take into account the amount of data that you send out from your PC as well.

So how much download per month do you need?  I first joined up to CQ Net – a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) 20 years ago on a 10MB dial up plan (per month) and it was more than enough for me to do my Engineering and Business studies at Uni as well as browsing the Internet to read about computers (yes I was a bit of a geek back then).  Moving forward to modern plans the smallest is around 2GB and with 1000MB in every 1GB this is 200 times as much as I had 20 years ago!

2013-10-05 Byte Me Article 145- How much download do I need

It is very common for modern Internet plans to be around the 50GB to 100GB per month and some families find that this is still not enough.  It all depends on how you use the Internet, so let’s take a look at those form of use.  If you only wanted to read some news articles and send / receive a few emails each day then you may be flat to be downloading 10MB a day – this would amount to 300MB or about a third of a GB each month (any current plan would be sufficient).

As soon as you start to have some pictures emailed to you this will change and if you start downloading music or movies then you are drastically changing how much you are downloading.  Let’s keep looking at what would comprise 1GB of downloads.  1GB is the equivalent of around 200 photos or 200 songs or 1 low resolution movie or about a quarter of a high resolution movie!  That’s right – download just one high resolution movie and you have downloaded about 5GB of data in one go.

So what happens when you exceed your download limit?  If you are on a capped plan (most home plans are capped) then once you reach you quota for the month your ISP will ‘throttle’ or slow down your access speed.  This slowdown will be very pronounced and some people often mistake it for an Internet fault.  In fact we have often seen customers reset their routers or spend a lot of time/money chasing a supposedly faulty Internet connection when they have simply hit their cap and been throttled.  This throttling restriction is automatically lifted at the start of the next billing period.

Many businesses are on an uncapped quota (with Telstra Business Broadband) for example and won’t have their connection throttled when they reach their cap – but rather are charged for excess usage.  Some of these penalties are rather excessive and so this needs to be watched out for – you could easily pay for as much as 10 months access in penalties on a single month when a plan with double your existing quota would have been just $20/month more than your current one! 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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