September 17, 2021

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PTCL broadband internet packages, the real/actual download speed

3 min read


In PTCL, or any other internet provider’s, broadband internet packages, what is the actual download speed that we customers receive?
Assume that I have 1Mb package and I choose to download AVG Antivirus from the internet. What download speed will I get? 1MB/Sec?

If your internet provider offers a 4Mbps/sec package, what download speed do you actually get?


1 Mbps connection, download speed is approximately: 100KB/Sec to 125KB/sec
2 Mbps: 200KB/Sec to 256KB/sec
4 Mbps: 400KB/Sec to 512KB/sec
8 Mbps: 800KB/Sec to 1024KB/sec

Download speed can vary. The landline connection quality also plays a role in determining the maximum downloading speed. If you are using a wireless router, then the strength of signal can directly effect internet speed.

The Byte, bit game

If you are wondering why you are getting the full speed as indicated by your package label [like 4 Mbps not giving you 4MB download speed,] then you first need to understand the marketing gimmick that internet broadband companies are using these days. In binary, or computer language, one BYTE is equal to eight BITs. Uppercase “B” represents bytes while a lowercase “b” represents a bit.

1 Byte = 8 bits

Most internet service providing companies use Mbps to indicate speed of their packages, like 4Mbps; it stands for “Mega bit per seconds.” On the other hand, MBps stands for “Mega Byte per second.” There is a significant difference between the two. 4MBps internet connection gives you more than 4000KB/Sec download speed where a 4Mbps connection has a download speed of approximately 512KB/Sec.

8Mbps = 1MBps download speed

I once contacted PTCL’s, my internet service provider, support via phone. The person I talked with told me the following, “4mb connection gives you around 500 KB/sec download speed, however, you get the full speed of 4mb when you are browsing or surfing the internet.”

False Advertising?

His answer did not make much sense. Either he has no idea about the “Byte, bit” marketing gimmick or perhaps it knows all about it but the company has instructed him to give this answer to customers. The truth is simple; an 8Mbps connection is actually a 1MBps connection. You are paying money for 1MBps connection. There is no such thing as having 8MBps browsing speed and 1024KB/sec download speed. If you have an 8Mbps broadband internet connection, then you will download and browse the internet using 1024KB/sec speed.

Internet providers are using this marketing technique to make their packages look more appealing to their customers. 8Mbps sounds great if compared to 1MBps, which is the actual speed you get in an 8Mbps internet connection. Bigger is better for marketing. In below images, you can see that PTCL is offering packages in bit per second, instead of Byte per second.

The following links provide additional information:

1. The Confusion of Broadband ISP Speeds
2. Data rate units – Wikipedia
3. Data Measurement Chart
4. Bit Rate Units for Computer Networks
5. Understand your Internet Speeds – Megabits vs. Megabytes

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