Download speed

The term "Download" is abbreviated as DL and refers to a process in which data is being copied or saved from one device to another device.[1] Through this process, it allows the transferring of entire files for local storage, which allows these to be used later on. Unlike the process of data transfer which only moves or copies data between two different storage devices, downloading receives data from the internet. Download speed refers to the availability for data to travel from the World Wide Web to connected devices such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Thus, this specifically refers to the availability of how fast or slow data can be transferred from one device to another device, or also how fast or slow a specific data file can be saved in the local storage system of a device.


Files can be downloaded through the file transfer protocol (FTP). This is a system referring to the movement and exchange of files through the internet between different devices and networks.[2] Downloading files can be a tedious task which involves a process of compressing, decompressing, and alternatively includes custom installations. Everything that a person does online involves downloading:

  • When the web page is loading, the browser is also downloading the page
  • The pictures on a page are downloaded
  • Videos through different sites can also be downloaded for future use

The internet software and the computer take care of everything in downloading. Most of the files that a person downloads are easily viewable by the applications or programs that are already in the computer. These are some files that a person must be careful of before opening a file to download:

Applications and executable files

These are files with the extension .exe for windows while .app for Mac users that are self-running. Files with these extensions are self-running and will automatically start when clicked on. However, these files may contain a virus or malware that will affect your device. With this, it is better to only open applications and executable files with sources you trust and know.

Self-extracting archives

These are files with .dmg that launch a little pop-up box that, when opened, ask you to move the application into your software directory. Furthermore, if you try to launch a program that comes from an unknown source, the device will automatically give you a warning. For files with .zip, it will extract itself once clicked on. Extracting files involves decompressing a file and releasing the content into a designated folder.

At some point, a person may want to download large files. There are a few websites that will host these types of downloadable files and compress them into an archived format. The most popular archive file format is zip.

Files are compressed in order to speed up and make efficient use of disk space. Through compressing the files, it reduces the size of a file and shortens the time for downloading. The data will be replaced with smaller codes that take up less room.[3]

The following are sample types of popular downloads:

  • Applications or programs – this is the most popular type of download that can be installed just in computers.
  • Hardware drivers – these are mostly included in a compressed file or contained within a self-extracting executable file.
  • Compressed files – reduces the size of a file. The files must be decompressed after downloading and before they can run.
  • Audio files – downloading an audio file is just similar to any other basic file from the internet.
  • Movie files - downloading movie file is just similar to any other basic file from the internet. There are streaming movie services that do not have a link for download so this requires and asks for software to save the video.
  • Pictures or images – Almost all of the pictures or images seen on the internet can just be easily downloaded to computer devices.
  • PDF files – almost all of the browsers open the contents of the file rather than downloading them directly.
  • Word processor documents – this refers to documents that can be found in Microsoft Word.
  • Spreadsheet or CSV files – this can be easily downloaded by just clicking any link pointing the spreadsheet file.
  • Text files – any link that points a text file is opened in the browser.
  • YouTube videos

The speed that is needed in order to download files is dependent on the following:

  • The speed that is offered in the area
  • Number of users and devices currently using the internet connection
  • The activities that each device will be doing

Below is the summary of speed recommendation for common internet activities:

  • Online gaming – Download speed (5Mbps)
  • Streaming video – Download speed (10Mbps)
  • Streaming music – Download speed (1Mbps)
  • Downloading large files – Slow (5Mbps), Fast (50Mbps)

The following recommendations are only for single activities at a time and it only represents the lowest recommended speed.[4] Today’s generation, the process of downloading files and data from one device to another device or to its local storage has helped and contributed a lot to the daily lives of the people. This makes the lives of the people easier and faster in saving and keeping information that will help them along the way.

Common Issues

People’s common concern is often on how to increase download speed. With this, if downloading the file is slow, then users can try checking if the file can be downloaded on a different web page. It can also be checked if the site visited gives links to multiple locations where the file is accessible. Hence, trying another download location. Furthermore, use of a download manager is an alternative solution. This is a software that speeds up the download of a single file by opening several network connections. However, this method is limited and dependent on the available bandwidth provided by the ISP.[5]

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