In this article I will explain how your internet bandwidth is being used, how your internet service provider charges you for your bandwidth usages, and difference between download, surfing and internet speed. I am writing this article because I have seen many home users and new internet users asking about the clarification in internet speed and download speed, speed they are getting and the speed said by their internet service provider.
At the end of this article, I am sure that you will find all your doubts clear. So let me explain what ISP (Internet Service Provider) means when saying "Limited 1GB Download Internet Plan". When ever user purchase such a limited internet usage plans, they often gets confused by it's 'download' term in plan details.
Here download does not mean the document files, songs, pictures and movies that you actually download from the internet and store in your local computer, but the download means what ever data being delivered to your computer from the internet. Suppose you want to access yahoo, then the whole page may be approx 200 KB will be considered as 200 KB download.
Actually, Some ISP also charges for the total amount of bandwidth usage including download and upload. Upload data is mostly a negligible as compared to downloaded data, but if you upload pictures on online photo sharing site, or upload videos to you tube or other video sharing site, it will be also considered as chargeable bandwidth usage.
So, If you have 1 GB limited download plan from your ISP, you can transfer 1GB = 1000 Mega Bytes = 1000,000 Kilo Bytes (not bits, consider Capital 'B') which includes, files, songs, pictures, movies, videos, web pages, emails, that you download or upload.
I think, it's now clear that, what actually the limited bandwidth usage plans mean. So let me explain the difference between Internet Speed and Downloading speed. Both are different.
Internet speed, assigned by your ISP is the speed of data transfer from server to your computer through internet. So if it is 256 Kbps, you can transfer maximum of 256 Kilo bits of data per second between your PC and Internet Server either way. Here you can notice small 'b' in '256 Kb', small means 'bits' and capital means 'Bytes'. When ever you download files from internet, your computer browser will show you downloading speed in 'KB' and not in 'Kb', that's the reason, why your downloading speed differs a quite from your internet speed.
"Speed is always mentioned in bits, while file size is always in Bytes"
You can calculate your internet speed by multiplying your downloading speed by 8, because 8 bits equal to 1 byte. Actually internet speed depends on many factors, that is beyond the subject of this article but you can measure it by any free internet bandwidth meter tool available on Internet.