How to Download a Large File Very Fast

By Joshua Smyth

Fiber optic cable offers almost unlimited speed but at a steep price.
i fiber optic computer cables image by Andrew Brown from

In 2007, a 75-year-old grandmother in Karlstad, Sweden, had an experimental 40 gigabit per second (Gbps) fiber optic line run to her home, giving her the world's fastest broadband connection. Although downloading a DVD in a mere two seconds as she can do is beyond the reach of most users, there are other ways to access the Internet which can increase your speed when downloading large files. The choices available to you will depend on where you live and how much money you are willing to invest.

Download large files during off-peak hours. When large numbers of people are online and accessing many files on Internet servers, downloading speeds will be slower. Download large files late at night or in the middle of the workday to speed up file transfers.

Download from major websites. The amount of bandwidth that you have doesn't matter if you are downloading a file from a server with a narrow connection. Downloading from commercial websites will usually give you access to more bandwidth (although these sites also attract more downloaders).

Contact your local DSL or cable broadband provider. Most offer a variety of speed packages, with higher speeds being significantly more expensive. Depending on your location, you may be able to connect at speeds up to 52 Mbps. With a connection that fast, a 1.5 gigabyte movie can be downloaded in less than five minutes.

Install a dedicated line. Dedicated lines are cables that run from your Internet provider's servers to your home or office, without branching to any other service points. This allows you to realize very high speeds but it is much more expensive than solutions that piggyback on existing networks. If cost is no object, dedicated fiber optic lines offer approximately 1 Gbps per fibre, with no hard limit on how many fibres you could bring in. Installation costs will vary depending on how much cable needs to be put down but since this option is used primarily by data centers and Internet service providers, expect the cost to be prohibitive.

Buy a satellite modem. Satellite connections can reach 155 Mbps per downlink, although maximum speeds of 50 Mbps are more commonly offered. As of September, 2010, companies like Hughes offered such service for $350 a month, on top of $400 for equipment. If you live outside of a major city, this may be your only broadband option.