Gauging Bandwidth Use
May 12, 2007 3:50 AM Subscribe
I'm considering downgrading my cable broadband from 512kbps-800MB/month to 256kbps-uncapped. I'd like to estimate the real-world hit in terms of casual web browsing and more intensive applications.
So, I downloaded FreeMeter, a bandwidth monitor. The baseline downstream (in absence of any web clients, even hidden ones like AV updaters) registers at 120-130kbps!! How come? When requesting a page, say metafilter.com, via Firefox, the downstream shows a few large spikes of 600-800kbps, a few small spikes of 300-400kbps and then settles down to baseline. Mostly as expected. But this does make me wonder on how exactly does an ISP throttle bandwidth. A few weeks earlier, I had downloaded a large torrent from mostly European peers, and to my surprise, the average speed amounted to ~192KB/s i.e. 1536kbps. So, if I switch to 256kbps, what's likely to be the real-world difference and how is it enforced? Three different scenarios would be regular browsing i.e. email, metafilter..etc, multimedia browsing i.e. Youtube, radio..etc and finally, large data downloads.
Note that this is in Mumbai, India, and as per government regulations (TRAI), the ISP "must" guarantee 80% of the advertised speed.