Everyone has experienced it – WIFI signal is down, and downloading things from the internet are slower than usual. Yes, it is frustrating – but we should still be thankful that our internet speed has improved drastically in the last two decades.
The internet is a global public network that traces its origins back to the ARPANET, and connecting to this network would allow you to surf at speeds of 50 Kbps. This was in the years 1984. Two years later, another network was introduced, with surfing speeds of up to 56 Kbps. This network, referred to as NSFNET, is owned by the National Science Foundation. In 1991, the NFSNET upgraded their internet speed, climbing up to 45 Mbps. This was later improved in 1994 when NFSNET reached the speeds of 145 Mbps. This was a great improvement when it comes to connectivity, and private communication companies started to introduce the concept of internet service providers or ISPs. They established internal departments that would handle internet connectivity services and started to offer dial-up internet to the public which is later known as WIFI providers.
The concept of connecting to the internet with the use of dial-up began in 1993, and the initial speed of the internet offered by this connection is only 56 Kbps. Downloading media at this speed would take around 10 minutes to 30 minutes for a 3.5 MB music, and around 28 hours to five days for a 700 MB movie. The use of dial-up has become prevalent across the United States, especially in urban areas. The internet also reached the rural areas, but only half of the entire rural American population is connected online. In 2010, surveys presented that 1 in 5 dial-up users in rural America stated that there are no broadband providers in their area, forcing them to use dial-up instead. In other studies, it showed that 1 in 10 of rural Americans only have dial-up internet as an option, and there are no other alternatives to it. Economic recessions in 2008 and subsequent years also become a factor for a lot of Americans, especially those who live in rural areas, to downgrade their internet service. According to AOL, the number of dial-up users using their service in 2011 is around 3.5 million, and they had to add around 200,000 new users or those who have chosen to downgrade their internet connectivity. Dial-up has become unreliable, especially in a world which focuses too much on using the internet as a form of entertainment. What is used widely today is the broadband.
The concept of connecting to the internet with the use of broadband started in 1996 after the technology was developed in North America. The number of broadband users in the United States saw a spike in 2000, 2001, and 2003. Many are shifting to broadband because of the faster internet connectivity that it provides. By the year 2010, 65% of American households connect to the internet with the use of broadband. Most countries around the world have also shifted to broadband, allowing the public to connect to the internet seamlessly. Videos are now loading smoothly, and downloading media from the internet only takes a few seconds to complete. Despite the reliability of the broadband, connectivity issues can still happen, especially if the underground cables essential for the signals to run are damaged. Companies are still experimenting on how they can improve global internet speeds, and in 2013, Google introduced the Google Fiber. The average speed using Google Fiber is around 1 GB per second, which is a hundred times faster than the average broadband today.
Scientists and computer experts are still developing new ways on how to improve internet speeds. There are now reports that global internet speed could reach up to 100 GB per second once the fiber cable project being constructed on a global scale opens. There are also experiments performed in computer laboratories showing that with the present technology, internet speeds of up to 186 Gbps is attainable. Fast and reliable internet service is needed for the development of other countries in the future. Experts agree that if fast internet would reach every corner of the world, most of the people would become aware of how others are living their lives. This would become a great way to improve globalization, and it would result in a healthy global economy. In the future, a fast and reliable internet could also become the key to develop communication between planets, which can be helpful in space exploration.