At one point or another, you may have noticed that when you download a file the speed at which the file is downloaded does not appear to match the speed of your ADSL line. The reason for this is that line and download speeds are measured differently. Your line speed is expressed in bits per second (bps) whereas download speeds are measured in bytes per second (Bps).
The key to understanding this is knowing the difference between a bit and a byte (see Computer Jargon Explained for detailed explanations on both). Essentially, one byte consists of eight bits. This means that in order to work out what sort of download speed your line is capable of (i.e. the theoretical limit), you would need to divide your line speed by a factor of eight.
For example: If you have a 1 megabit per second line (1Mbps) then the theoretical download speed would be approximately 125 kilobytes per second (125KBps). In reality, your download rate would peak at around 93KBps.
Note: Due to a number of factors, including how ADSL handles data transfer; network congestion as well as how busy the server you are downloading from is, your download rate will peak at approximately 75% of the theoretical limit (as per the example above).
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