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Your ISP just sent you an email saying 1000Mbps fiber internet is available in your area. You’re constantly downloading hundreds of gigabytes, even terabytes of files from various cloud storage providers. You bite and pay the extra $50/month for the faster internet. So what does this get you? .

Before we start, let’s have a little refresher on file sizes. We normally talk about file sizes in terms of “bytes” as in “this video file is 10 GB (Gigabytes)” or “that mp3 song is 3 MB (Megabytes)”. It's important to remember the lowercase b in Mbps (used commonly to describe internet speeds) stands for “bits”, not “bytes”. One byte is equivalent to 8 bits. Meaning that a 10 Gigabyte file is equivalent to 80000 Megabits.

This is widely misunderstood and for good reason. Internet service providers want their speeds to sound as fast as possible.

100 Mbps (Megabits per second) sounds a lot faster than 12.5 MBps per second. What this means is that the fastest theoretical download of a 1000Mbps fiber internet speed is 125 Megabytes per second. One terabyte is 1 million megabytes meaning a terabyte at this speed takes (at its theoretical maximum) two hours and 13 minutes to download. 

A bit over two hours to download a terabyte sounds reasonable, however, as many of you with 1000Mbps fiber internet know, in practice a terabyte download often takes far longer. Let's look at what else limits download speeds. 

ISP Throttling

Internet throttling is when your internet service provider intentionally limits your internet bandwidth. They do this for a number of reasons, the most common being network congestion. During peak hours (7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.) ISPs often throttle everyone's internet in a particular area.

This allows all customers to at least have reasonable access to the internet instead of some users having perfect speeds and others not being able to connect at all.

You can knock on your neighbor's door and tell them to get off the internet or complain to your ISP but it's unlikely either will listen. Your best bet is to download those terabytes overnight when congestion is at a minimum. 

Cloud Storage Provider Throttling

There is also the case of your cloud storage service being congested. Again, during peak hours services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Frame.io will experience large amounts of traffic that can severely slow down your download times. 

Other Factors

There are a whole bunch of other factors like the route your traffic takes from the cloud storage provider along with any congestion or failures along the way. Things like the router you buy or your computer hardware can slow down speeds tremendously. 

All this to say there are a tremendous amount of bottlenecks in the system that are completely unrelated to you paying the extra $50 a month for faster internet speeds. It's no wonder why many production studios still opt to ship hard drives over the mail like it's 1995. What if you could skip the download and work directly off your cloud storage?

With Suite you get all the benefits of cloud storage: accessibility, security, and scalability without waiting hours or even days waiting for downloads. Read about how Suite takes cloud storage to the next level here.