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"High Speed" Dial-up

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  • 4 weeks later...

When your Web browser opens Web pages, they're usually full of things besides words (more than just text, in other words). These pages have pictures and sometimes sounds. They can even have movies and other animations.

  A lot of that stuff never changes. The people who design Web pages might change the wording, but they might not change the pictures or sounds. So your browser does something smart. It stores the pictures and sounds and text and anything else it can grab. All that stuff is put in a folder so that the browser can find it later.

  What's it do with it? Here's the smart part. When you open a Web page at any other time, your browser does a little checking to see if it's already been to that Web site. If the answer is Yes, it grabs all the stuff it stored so it can stick everything up on your screen real fast. But it's not so dumb that it will show you stuff that's changed, so it also finds out what's changed. If the Web site uses the same picture but has new text, it uses the picture it saved but tells the Web site to send it the new text.

  Make sense?

  It's a neat system. If you use Internet Explorer, the cache is stored in a folder called Temporary Internet Files. (Inside that folder are other folders, too.) If you use other browsers, the cache may be stored in that browsers folder.

  You can fine-tune the way this cache works by checking certain options in the browser's setup menu. And you can tell Windows (or the browser) to keep files a longer time or a shorter time. Check out the options and you'll see what I mean.

  But don't just trash the cache. Your browser needs those files to make everything go faster.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A common misunderstanding in communications is that having more bandwidth means a "faster" (lower-latency) connection. But, in many cases, the reverse is true, depending on context and needs.

Bandwidth is the amount of information that can be transferred over a connection in a given period of time. It's usually measured in bits per second. There are 8 bits in a byte, so you should divide your bandwidth by 8 to get the transfer rate in bytes. However, adding in overhead and other factors that slow down the transmission, it is likely that your actual data transfer rate will be lower. A good rule of thumb is to divide by 10 to get the data transfer rate.

Latency is the amount of time it takes for a response to return from a request. Usually this is measured in a simple time value. On the Internet, this is typically in milliseconds. 1000 ms is equal to 1 second.

Latency and bandwidth together determine the "speed" of a connection, and the "speed" of a connection can vary as widely as your needs.

To view a web page over a 56 kbit/s modem (56,000 bits per second) from a server 3,000 miles away is done very effectively over the Internet. Latency is fairly low (typically about a quarter of a second) and the size of an average web page (around 30

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