Slow download times, delays, buffering… We’ve all experienced poor wait times when using our devices – so do we need more bandwidth?
Waiting for files to download is a frustration we’ve all felt at one time or another. Substantial wait times can cause us to lose valuable working time and of course, will frustrate users.
So what’s going on – and how long is ‘too long’ to wait?
File transfer applications are probably the most common data activity on users’ devices, whether they be PC, tablet or mobile devices attached to cellular and other networks. In many cases the user or device must wait for the file transfer to complete before allowing the user to act on the file. When delays occur – for example if a file transfer takes too long, it’s common that users will find the delay unacceptable or lose productive time.
Of course, it is the user’s subjective reaction that determines what ‘time to wait’ is acceptable. And as the time to wait is directly linked to the bandwidth and speed of the network doing the transfer, bandwidth demands continue to increase in the face of delays and impatient users.
For years, I have heard people say that they have enough bandwidth on their network, or that they will not need more speed, such as is the case today with talk of 10Gbps speeds.
Yet today, the size of files transferred varies over many orders of magnitude; as shown in the table below – and the time it takes to transfer the information is linked primarily to the data rate of the network. From this particular table (which shows transfer times at 1Gbps rates) it may appear that this level of data rate may not be required today, except in specialized cases and areas where the data streams aggregate. However, this assumption does rely on what is regarded as acceptable wait times.
Ultimately, we are all impatient as users and will need more bandwidth!
Remembering that users get frustrated waiting for applications to download, likely explains why mobile and cellular users (as well as users accessing networks over the wide area and across internet) are eager for the next level of 4G or broadband service – which are still a far cry from 10Gbps speeds available in LANs today.
Users get frustrated waiting for applications to download and want instant responsiveness; in fact users will wait longer for a website to load on a desktop than they will on a mobile device!
So in order to keep pace, it’s important to know how to create productive, optimal networks that offer a seamless and stress-free user experience. You can find out more about the best courses to take to prepare your network infrastructure in our eBook: Understand the Passive Infrastructure that Underpins Your Network, or on our Passive Infrastructure course page.
|File Type||TypicalSize(bytes)||Transfer Time(seconds)|
|Page of text||3 KB||0.000024|
|Email message||10 KB||0.00008|
|Spreadsheet; large Web page||100 KB||0.0008|
|Digitized photo||1 MB||0.008|
|VGA color screen||2.5 MB||0.020|
|PowerPoint file; or X-rays||10 MB||0.08|
|Download application and data to thin client||100 MB||0.8|
|Large database; or back up data from user’s hard drive||1 GB||8.|
|HDTV (compressed) – 10 minutes; or standard US video (compressed) – one hour||4.8 GB||38.4|
|CAT scan||10 GB||80.|
Table 1 – File Transfer Times at 1 Gbps