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The Need for Speed

No matter how fast, the internet is never fast enough.

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This is Leo Notenboom for

In commenting on a common question I get –
Can I combine two internet connections to get a faster connection?
– I
mentioned that my own connection was still basic DSL – 768k bits per second
down, and 128k up, and that my telephone company can’t provide DSL any faster.
I also live in an area without cable, so my broadband options are quite

A few years ago, when I got that connection, I remember feeling like it was
blazingly fast. Certainly faster than the 128k ISDN connection I had before,
and naturally way faster than dial-up which connected at about

But today that 768/128 feels … slow.

A reader responded by pointing out that where he lives, while those kind of
speeds are available they’re not the norm and that what I have is considered
quite good.

“Internet use naturally expands to exceed current
capacity, no matter what that current capacity is.”

And I certainly realize that. In many areas even DSL is not an option, and
dial-up is the only way to connect. Broadband speeds – say anything over 56k
dialup – are most certainly not available, or affordable, everywhere.

So beyond the “digital divide”, we have what I guess I’d call the “bandwidth
divide”. Those that have high speed internet and those that do not. It presents
a challenge for website developers as feature rich interactive websites now
pretty much rely on broadband speeds for full functionality. Heck, even simple
concepts like Youtube or Google Video are simply beyond the reach or patience
of dialup users.

The reader asked “When will people be satisfied with what they have?”

My response is simple: never. Internet use naturally expands to exceed
current capacity, no matter what that current capacity is.

5 years ago things like YouTube and Google Video didn’t exist. iTunes wasn’t
in the picture. And I wasn’t trying to remote-manage my wife’s business
computers from across the internet. Now broadband speeds are making all these
things, and more, possible.

And while I can do all of that today with my 768/128, I’d do them faster,
and start doing some new things, with more speed. With more speed comes more
possibilities. As website and other service providers can begin to rely on the
majority of their users having higher speed connections, they’ll build out new
and interesting services that require it. As people see these new services,
they’ll be clamoring for more speed. It’s an upward spiraling circle of
features, bandwidth and market bandwidth adoption.

But wherever you are on the spiral sooner or later it won’t be enough.

And I’m guessing sooner.

I’d love to hear what you think. Visit and enter 11075 in the go
to article number box and leave me a comment. While you’re there, search over
1,000 technical questions and answers on the site.

Till next time, I’m Leo Notenboom, for

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6 comments on “The Need for Speed”

  1. Leo, your photo is now on the tabs of IE7 when I open it! Please help me to get back to normal, I am not very good as I am 63 and barely get by as it is!

  2. I live in a rural country setting, where internet service is dial-up, but qwest dsl is right down the road not 4 miles, but they say we will never get, so i guess my 14.4 dial-up will be with me forever, more speed is what we in rural area’s need. We are all missing alot, without DSl. Ths for your time Kelly

  3. I guess here in the UK we are fairly lucky that 2Mbps/256Kbps (now changing to 8Mb/448Kbps)DSL is the standard. Cable offers upto 10Mbps depending on package and most users are now on broadband.

    With ADSL2+ round the corner (already starting to become available in the cities) this is only going to get faster. I understand that we are still behind other European countries whose internet is upto 50Mbps as standard not sure which countries this is though

  4. I doubt that you can combine 2 internet connections to get a faster one.I can’t imagine how the packages will be received and how will you “combine” the internet connections.If you succeed to combine those 2 internet connections in a faster one,test your download speed using this simple test :


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