Slow networks are the bane of my life. I often need to send or receive files up to 300MB around the world, and Macworld UK’s 1Mb line creaks at the strain. Thankfully at home I’ve been enjoying a 2Mb line, which has been fine for the last year or so. But when I heard about UK Online’s Broadband 8000, I knew an upgrade was on the cards.
The transition was difficult. Moving a regular 512kbps line is just a matter of getting a code from your current provider, and giving it to the new company; it should work much like moving mobile phone company. Unfortunately, there’s no migration programme for 2Mb lines – which means anguish, but it’s worth it. If you have a 2Mb line, here’s what happens...
First, cancel your service with your current service provider. This takes around two weeks because of the arcane methods for clearing the line of several levels of service. Once the line is clear, the new service company is able to leap into action, and in another two weeks you’ll have the new service. So it can take up to a month without a service to get the fastest service available. Irritating – but as I said, I think it’s worth it.
Once the new service was fired up, I did have some concerns that Web sites and download services couldn’t keep pace. Certainly, some downloads get only so fast, but never top out the bandwidth. Many do, however, and it’s an impressive sight. I remember downloading a 1MB file from the Internet on a 9,600bps modem – it took over an hour. Not much more than ten years later, a megabyte takes less than two seconds to download. That’s incredible – amazing – and I’m now spoilt. Now my work network seems like we’ve moved back to using modems.
Just to put the speed into perspective, a hefty system update from Apple might weigh in at 30MB. A 512kbps broadband line would most likely download that in around 15 minutes, which is acceptable. But the Broadband 8000 line did it in under a minute.
Downloads from Audible.com, Apple, Software Update, and most big companies seem to flood the bandwidth with ease. Even at the highest resolution, movie trailers that fill the screen play as soon as you click the button, without faltering.
If you live in an area that can get Broadband 8000 then I heartily recommend the service. It may cost a little more, but it’s like getting a brand new Internet. For some the transition will be painful – but early adopters like me understand that sometimes you need to suffer a little to get the best.