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No matter how fast, the internet is never fast enough.

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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.

In commenting on a common question I get - Can I combine two internet connections to get a faster connection? - I mentioned that my own connection was still basic DSL - 768k bits per second down, and 128k up, and that my telephone company can't provide DSL any faster. I also live in an area without cable, so my broadband options are quite limited.

A few years ago, when I got that connection, I remember feeling like it was blazingly fast. Certainly faster than the 128k ISDN connection I had before, and naturally way faster than dial-up which connected at about 33k.

But today that 768/128 feels ... slow.

A reader responded by pointing out that where he lives, while those kind of speeds are available they're not the norm and that what I have is considered quite good.

"Internet use naturally expands to exceed current capacity, no matter what that current capacity is."

And I certainly realize that. In many areas even DSL is not an option, and dial-up is the only way to connect. Broadband speeds - say anything over 56k dialup - are most certainly not available, or affordable, everywhere.

So beyond the "digital divide", we have what I guess I'd call the "bandwidth divide". Those that have high speed internet and those that do not. It presents a challenge for website developers as feature rich interactive websites now pretty much rely on broadband speeds for full functionality. Heck, even simple concepts like Youtube or Google Video are simply beyond the reach or patience of dialup users.

The reader asked "When will people be satisfied with what they have?"

My response is simple: never. Internet use naturally expands to exceed current capacity, no matter what that current capacity is.

5 years ago things like YouTube and Google Video didn't exist. iTunes wasn't in the picture. And I wasn't trying to remote-manage my wife's business computers from across the internet. Now broadband speeds are making all these things, and more, possible.

And while I can do all of that today with my 768/128, I'd do them faster, and start doing some new things, with more speed. With more speed comes more possibilities. As website and other service providers can begin to rely on the majority of their users having higher speed connections, they'll build out new and interesting services that require it. As people see these new services, they'll be clamoring for more speed. It's an upward spiraling circle of features, bandwidth and market bandwidth adoption.

But wherever you are on the spiral sooner or later it won't be enough.

And I'm guessing sooner.

I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11075 in the go to article number box and leave me a comment. While you're there, search over 1,000 technical questions and answers on the site.

Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.

Article C2897 - January 15, 2007 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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6 Comments
Mike
January 20, 2007 4:53 AM

Leo, your photo is now on the tabs of IE7 when I open it! Please help me to get back to normal, I am not very good as I am 63 and barely get by as it is!

Kelly Nelson
January 21, 2007 10:13 PM

I live in a rural country setting, where internet service is dial-up, but qwest dsl is right down the road not 4 miles, but they say we will never get, so i guess my 14.4 dial-up will be with me forever, more speed is what we in rural area's need. We are all missing alot, without DSl. Ths for your time Kelly

Eli Coten
January 28, 2007 5:04 AM

I guess here in the UK we are fairly lucky that 2Mbps/256Kbps (now changing to 8Mb/448Kbps)DSL is the standard. Cable offers upto 10Mbps depending on package and most users are now on broadband.

With ADSL2+ round the corner (already starting to become available in the cities) this is only going to get faster. I understand that we are still behind other European countries whose internet is upto 50Mbps as standard not sure which countries this is though
Eli.

webcodes
March 17, 2007 2:49 PM

I doubt that you can combine 2 internet connections to get a faster one.I can't imagine how the packages will be received and how will you "combine" the internet connections.If you succeed to combine those 2 internet connections in a faster one,test your download speed using this simple test : http://www.webcodes.info/bandtest/

Big Bill
December 1, 2007 6:36 PM

FYI, the webcodes.info/bandtest link in the comment above looks like it is no longer what it must have been. It goes to one of those ad directories now.

Mark J
April 17, 2011 1:22 PM

I have 50,000 mb/s (which tests to actually being 38,000 mb/s down and 8,000 mb/s up) and sometimes that seems too slow because I'm also dependent on the upload speed of the website I'm accessing.

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