Broadening The Band

My domestic bandwidth has finally caught up with the halcyon days I experienced at Google in 2003 – 2004. It was somewhere around then that we, Googlers in the Mountain View office, were first able to access the Internet at speeds in excess of 100 Mbit. The bottleneck had shifted and now it was the Fast Ethernet card in my workstation.

Once a gigabit card had been placed on the PC, ISO images would fly across the link, the download completing within a few minutes. I can still remember being in awe of the speed, which was very unusual back then. Very few people had the luxury of being connected to the Internet at work — forget about at home! — by such a fast link. Even gigabit Ethernet cards themselves were still far from the norm in workstations and servers. Most people weren’t connected to a gigabit LAN, never mind a WAN.

Time normalises everything, though. In a time-stretched corollary of Moore’s Law, we now find ourselves at the point that we can order affordable commodity Internet access with greater than Fast Ethernet speed. Actually, it’s been available for quite some time in Amsterdam, but I saw no need for it. I have historically upgraded our bandwidth only as we developed a need for it.

Last week, then, finally saw the upgrade of our cable link to 120 Mbit downstream and 10 Mbit up. This fat pipe dwarves our DSL bandwidth, which is a mere 12 Mbit downstream and 1 Mbit up. I expect we’ll cancel the service in a few months, although it does provide us with a static public IP address, which our cable provider does not.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the new bandwidth very much. BitTorrent, in particular, is benefiting from the extra breathing space.

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