Downloads Of 100Mb Will Be Common

7 August 2004

Microsoft has released the Service Pack 2 for Windows XP to manufacturing. This article from Computerworld explains some of the particulars. I use a cable modem that reliably provides approximately 2.2Mbps of download speed. That’s the typical throughput on a line that is rated at a theoretical 3.0Mbps.

Assuming 8 bits to the Byte, and assuming the typical download from Microsoft will be 100MB, let’s look at some realistic download times. There’s always going to be a contradictory use of terminology between the computer folks and the telephone folks. But, assuming Microsoft is on the computer side of the house, they want to send 100MB or 100×1,048,576 bytes of information. At 8 bits to the byte, this works out to 100×1,048,576×8 = 838,860,800 bits.

Now, the telephone folks are going to allow me to download that at 2.2Mbps. What they mean is 2.2×1,000,000×8 = 17,600,000 bits per second.

So, my download is probably going to take 838,860,800 / 17,600,000 = 47.66 seconds. Slow that download speed to 500Kbps and it’s going to take about 3.5 minutes. That’s the download time. Installation and configuration and testing will take some more time.

Multiply any of these numbers by the number of users of Windows XP and you begin to see what’s going to happen to the Internet, bandwidth and computer users for a few days.

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