Solitary IT Insights

Network Speed v Internet Speed

All communitation rates are calculated in bps (bits per second) or multiples thereof (Kbps, Mbps, Gbps). In any communication over the internet your communication "conversation" will be transmitted over a number of different connections and vehicles at varying rates. Apart from the effect of each segment of the connection, rates will be impacted by the amount of traffic on each of the segments.

1) Local Network

The first of these is your own local network, from your computer to the router/ ADSL modem. This connection can be wired or wireless. If it is wired it will be at a rate of 10Mbs, 100Mbps or 1Gbps. If it is wireless it will be at a rate of up to 54Mbs (802.11g), up to 600Mbps (802.11n) or up to 1 Gbps (802.11ac).


The second rate is that between your ADSL modem and the local telephone exchange. These rates vary based on the plan you have with your internet service provider (ISP), what is available at the local exchange and the distance you are from the exchange. The plan sets a maximum rate that you can achieve, in reality the rate you get is somewhat less. If your plan has shaping the maximum rate on the line will be reduced to a lower speed when you exceed your download limit. In some areas there are not enough high speed connections (DSLAMs) for all those who desire them, so you may have had to settle for a slower link. The distance you are from the exchange affects those who are connected by copper cable. It has little affect on those connected by optical fibre (e.g. the NBN). The table below details how distance affects rates.

Plan Highest Speed @1km @2km @3km @4km @5km Dropout
ADSL 1.5 Mbps 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 0 4.1 km
ADSL2 8 Mbps 8.0 8.0 7.0 4.0 1.2 5.4 km
ADSL2+ 24 Mbps 23.5 16.5 9.0 4.0 1.5 6.2 km

3) Telecommunications Network

The rate at which you communicate across the internet is variable. The location where server you are communicating with is located and the different paths that packets of data travel along to reach their destination make the rate change from second to second.

4) Server's Connection

Each server like your computer has a connection to the internet as well as its own local network.

(Published 04 Aug 2014)