In Kenya, the best Internet speed one can get is 100 Mbps on one of the fiber optics being rolled out in major towns. Majority of us are however stack on 3G Internet by the telecos where, if lucky, you can enjoy speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps but averagely most people are always on less than 1 Mbps in both upload and download connections, with upload speeds being on the very low side.
As we grapple with speeds below 1 Mbps, those in the developed world especially US complain bitterly whenever their Internet speeds drop below 10 Mbps. A number of US Internet users are used to 30 Mbps and thanks to Google, residents of cities like Kansas and Austin in Texas have started enjoying, not the 100 Mbps allowed by most fiber connections but 1 Gbps offered by Google.
In terms of bytes, Google’s 1 Gbps theoretically allows transfer of 125 mega bytes of data each second. If you were to download a 5GB movie with Google’s 1 Gbps speeds, it will take you only 40 seconds. 7.2 Mbps on the other hand can take up to 100 hours (well over three days) to complete downloading the same movie!
Although 1 Gbps is damn fast, Google is thinking that such speeds are still too slow. According to a story appearing on USA Today, Google’s Chief Finance Officer Patrick Pichette said Google is already working on improving the current Internet Speeds on Google Fiber tenfold in the next two to three years. This means by 2017, US citizens will start experiencing 10 Gbps Internet Speeds thanks to Google’s futuristic initiatives.
The question in the minds of many is whether technology is ready to adopt speeds of up to 10 Gbps (theoretically 1.25 giga bytes per second)…If for instance you were to download 10GB worth of content, the download speed is not only a function of Internet connection but also Server speeds, speeds of interlinking nodes (routers, other servers, etc) and the PC speed. The effective speed will therefore be the slowest speed in the network.
Most network cards allow transfer of files up to 800 Mbps (100 MBps) so assuming that at the end user one can only access file transfer at maximum limit of 800 Mbps, then one wonders why 1 Gbps is even necessary. Well, since 1 Gbps is the maximum possible speed on Google Fiber, effective speeds can average around the 800 Mbps so yeah, 1 Gbps is not too far fetched; but isn’t 10 Gbps way out of question?
Maybe not. Given the slow approach Google has adopted in deploying the 1Gbps in US with estimates pointing to 10-15 years before the connection gets to every US city, then 10 Gbps might go mainstream in 30 years time. Probably by then, the entire Internet infrastructure including servers, routers, and end-user gadgets like PCs and smartphones shall have been upgraded to enable data speeds of over 10 Gbps.
What will you do with 10 Gbps Internet speeds? Play 4K games online, download several 4K movies and watch Internet TV simultaneously?