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Internet Terms Explained

There are a lot of terms and phrases attached to Internet products, but what do they mean and what do they do? We're here to give you a basic overview on some common Internet terms. 

Download Speed

Your download speed, typically measured in Mbps, is how much data you can transferInternet Speed from a server to your device per second.

The majority of online activity is downloading, like loading web pages, streaming videos, and downloading files.

Upload Speed

Your upload speed, again typically measured in Mbps, is how much data you can transfer from your device to others per second.

Uploading is necessary for activities such as sending large files via email, uploading files, and video calls (since you have to send your feed to them).

Downloading & Uploading

In the example of loading a web page - upload would be sending data from your device to the server, the download aspect would be loading all of the content from the server on to your device. For most web use, download speed is more important.


Mbps or megabits per second, is how fast your data will send. A single byte has 8 bits. The size of a file on computing devices is usually measured in bytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). 

Let's break it down,Blog Mbps

  • 8,000,000 bits (8 Mb) = 1,000,000 bytes (1 MB)
  • 1024 bytes (MB) = 1 gigabyte (GB)
  • 1,024 gigabytes (GB) = 1 terabyte (TB)

And say you were trying to download a 1GB file with a 100Mbps download speed, in theory it should take:

1 minute and 22 seconds (1GB = 1,024 MB = (8,192Mb/100Mbps) = 82 seconds) to download the file.

However, other factors can affect your speeds. Some are noted in our other blog post, but it will also depend on the server you are downloading from or uploading to. If there is high traffic on the server it may slow down everyone's speeds.

Your internet service provider (ISP) only has influence over the connection in their network. Meaning if the server you are connecting to in Romania only has a 1 Mbps upload connection to the Internet, you will only be able to download from it at a speed of 1 Mbps.

Data caps

Data caps are your maximum allowable Internet usage, usually on a monthly basis. Activities like streaming and uploading video will use up a lot more data than other forms of browsing.

Providers with data caps may have a way to track your monthly usage to ensure you don't go over your cap. 

If you subscribe to Quantum Internet package with CityWest, there are no data caps.


Ping is not only a reputable golf brand, it's also the round trip time of your connection, essentially how fast you get a response after you've sent out a request.

Ping is very important in online gaming. Your request has to travel from your device to the server and back to your device. Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms).

Where the server is located will affect your ping rate. Even if your Internet speed is veryHobbiton ping fast, your request still may have to travel from Northern British Columbia to a server across the world.

Pinging a server in your town is more than likely going to have a lower ping time than pinging a server in New Zealand, as your request has to go there and back again.


We hope this write-up helps clear up what some Internet terms mean and what they do. Remember that CityWest has technical support available 24/7 by calling 1-800-442-8664.