What Is Downloading Speed?

by Anthony King

Downloading speed is exactly what it sounds like: how fast the file is being downloaded. Files are not downloaded all at once. They are downloaded piece by piece. So the download speed tells how fast those pieces are being saved. This speed is not a fixed number, as there are many external forces that will effect how fast a downloading speed can get up to.

Locate Downloading Speed

Whenever a file is downloaded, there is a continuously changing download speed that can go up and download through the life of the download. Locate the changing number that is formatted as a decimal number of kilobytes per second. For example, a file that is being downloaded at 30.71 kilobytes per second will look like: "30.71 Kb/s."

Calculating How Long a Download Will Take

A normal size file is in megabytes, however, a file downloads in kilobytes. There are 1000 kilobytes in 1 megabyte, which means all you have to do to calculate how long a download will take is to first convert the megabytes into kilobytes by multiplying it by 1000. Then divide that number by the current downloading speed. For example, if your file size is 10 megabytes and your downloading speed is 30.71 KB/s, than dividing 10,000 by 3.71 will tell you that your download will take 5.42 minutes to finish downloading.

Improved Downloading Speed

The speed of the Internet connection you are using is the biggest factor that affects downloading speed. As a rule of thumb, usually if you have fast Internet you will have a fast downloading speed. Another factor that can improve downloading speed is the number of users you are downloading from, the more sources for the download the faster it will go. In addition, if you are downloading from one source like a specific website, then the amount of traffic on the site at the specific time of your download will affect the speed. Additionally, multiple people can be downloading a specific file at the same time, the number of people trying to download the file also will slow the download speed.

Speed of Different Internet Connections

As stated above, your Internet connection speed is the biggest factor that can help or hurt download speed. Internet connections are formatted the same as downloading speed, however they are usually MB/s instead of KB/s. This means that the information being accessed across the Internet is being presented to you at a certain number of megabytes per second. The fastest commercially offered Internet connection as of 2009 is the cable Internet connection, which can have an overall speed of up to 100 MB/s. The next fastest would be a DSL Internet connection, which sees Internet connection speeds of up to 54 MB/s. Although mostly obsolete, the dial-up Internet which is still offered, tops out at only 56 KB/s.

Help Downloading Speed

Exit out of all open windows or programs before beginning a download. Additionally, if you download a file during peak Internet usage hours, like the middle of the day, this will hurt the speed. Choose a time that is less congested for downloading a file. Finally, do not sit there and click on other things, or keep refreshing you download. You will only hurt the downloading speed by messing with things.

About the Author

Anthony King is a freelance writer and amateur filmmaker. His work has appeared in various online publications. He is currently working toward graduating with a B.A. in English-writing.