One of the most common questions about computers is how to make them work faster. The problem is the slowest part of your computer is outside of it, and that problem is getting worse. 

Pigeon vs Internet

An 11-month-old pigeon known as Winston was challenged to a rather unique race in 2009. The bird was set loose to fly 60 miles to his home carrying a memory card. At the same time, those exact files were transferred via the internet. By the time Winston reached his destination only 4% of the file had been downloaded via the internet. Clearly, Winston had won this challenge. 

More recently, a team of scientists working to capture the first images of a black hole had to move data all around the globe. They had over 5 petabytes (5 million gigabytes) of data which they had to transport by passenger plane back to a central location for processing.

Bandwidth Inflation

As computer technology advances, more and more programs use servers in the cloud for the heavy lifting of data processing. The result is more programs using more internet multiplied by every device in your home or business. From your favorite tile-matching puzzle game, to the operating systems of your various devices, they all update frequently, congesting the internet bandwidth. Our expectations of internet speed are also changing; it used to be ok to wait 5 seconds for a website to load. Now most websites need to load much faster, otherwise users will often get frustrated with the wait time.

One of the fastest consumer internet connections available is 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps).  However, most internet connections used locally in homes and businesses have a small fraction of those speeds. Though the new options for internet within Deer Park’s city limits are improving, we are likely a long way from that kind of connectivity.

Time For An Upgrade

Your computer can work much faster than 1Gbps. Inside the device, data can move up to 30 times faster than the 1Gbps  internet connection. See the graph below for an approximation of the speed difference.

We will likely never have the internet speed to match a computer’s power, but as it becomes available, consider upgrading your internet connection. A new rule of thumb should be that when you upgrade your computer, check to see if it is time to upgrade your internet as well.


Article originally published in the Deer Park Gazette, a subsidiary of TRECpro LLC.