More Speed Tech Internet for the whole family! Not too long ago, a very unhappy lady walked into a computer store, and asked if she could return the laptop she had purchased less than a month ago. When the store clerk asked why, she replied, “It’s my children. They hate this computer. They think it’s too slow for watching movies and listening to music, and they said it took forever to download my niece’s wedding video. Do you think another laptop or a tablet would be faster?” The clerk realized immediately that the lady had a problem with her Internet speed, and not with her computer. He explained that when she bought her Internet service, her provider should have described its speed in terms of Kbps (Kilobits per second) or Mbps (Megabits per second). These don’t really measure how fast information travels…they measure how much information reaches the computer in the span of a second. Think of each “bit” as a little truckload of info. With an Internet download speed of 1Kbps, 1,000 little truckloads of information will reach a computer in one second. With an Internet speed of 1Mbps, 1,000,000 little truckloads will arrive in the same span of time! They seem to go faster because they travel on a wider road, and are able to ride side-by-side. In other words, it’s because of a greater “bandwidth.” Take family videos for example. It takes a certain number of “truckloads” to fill a computer screen—and if they hit a traffic jam because the bandwidth is too narrow, the picture will stop until they all arrive…and start…and stop…and start. More Mbps will provide the “bandwidth” needed to keep the flow of information arriving smoothly. To watch a high-definition video, at least 3 Mbps are needed. It’s also important to note that an Internet service provides speeds “up to” a certain number. That’s because certain factors can temporarily reduce bandwidth. For example, in homes with multiple computers in use, each one takes up its share of the bandwidth. People who are wondering what speed is best for them should call their cable company and ask to speak with an Internet specialist who can determine which plan best meets their needs. That’s exactly what the lady did— and once it was installed, she brought her children back to the computer store, and thanked the clerk who’d guided her so selflessly. He may not have sold a computer that day, but he earned a customer for life.