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Internet Speeds – Faster Than The Human Brain
Internet – a way of connecting with people, sharing info and it’s possibilities are endless and since it was first commercialized in 1995 the internet has grown at a staggering rate.
With this growth has also come a desire and a need for the internet to be faster and for us to share all the information as quickly as possible. Since the internet was first brought into public use, technology has advanced greatly and has enabled us to surf the internet at faster and faster speeds. During the 1990′s, most home, school and business users connected to the internet through dial-up modems, most of which allowed a maximum speed of 56kb/s (kilobytes per second). Back then, this speed was quite normal and allowed for web surfing, email sending and receiving and chatting via instant messaging software (ICQ, MSN etc).
Over the years our need for faster internet speeds has resulted in blistering fast connections that now allow us to access more and more content online that could not have been possible 20 years ago. Broadband internet, like sky broadband offers, has allowed for incredible leaps in internet speeds and has thus broadened the scope of the internet and it’s content. Broadband internet can be split into a number of types, ranging from multi-link dial-up and ISDN (integrated services digital network) connections to the more popular Cable and DSL connections.
Cable internet access is usually seamlessly integrated with a home cable TV service while DSL, or it’s common sub-type, ADSL (asymmetrical digital subscriber) is a connection made via the telephone line.
Using broadband connections to access the internet, users can now open sites, load videos, stream music and video-chat online without hardly any lag or interruptions. Broadband internet speeds vary from 256kb/s (the slowest speed, which is still 4.5 times faster than the maximum dial-up speed we had before) to a whopping 20mb/s! This increase in speed has also allowed for the development of new internet content such as Youtube and Skype, which would have been redundant on dial-up connections.
These blisteringly fast internet speeds are almost as fast as the speed of light. In a vacuum the speed of light is almost 300,000 km/s, while digital information (internet packets in this case) can travel up to two thirds the speed of light, which is about 200,00 km/s via copper wires or through fibre optic cables. The reason for this difference in speed is that the copper wires and fibre optic cables are one third thicker than a vacuum and thus slow down the transfer of digital information.
To get a better perspective on how fast internet speeds are, we can compare it with the human brain or rather the speed of the information exchange via neurons within our brains. As mentioned, broadband internet speeds can reach a speed of up to 200,000 km/s, while the average speed of nerve impulses in the human brain can reach a speed of up to 120 m/s, which is roughly 1,666,666 times slower than the fastest commercial broadband internet connection.
Advances in technology will surely increase internet speeds even more over the course of the next couple of decades which will allow us to access information online even faster and will instigate the creation of more internet-based content that we can’t even begin to imagine.