File transfer applications are probably the most common data activity on users’ devices, whether they be PCs or mobile devices attached to cellular and other networks. In many cases the user or device must wait for the file transfer to complete before allowing the user to act on the file. If a file transfer takes too long, the user finds the delay unacceptable and also loses productive time.

It is the user's subjective reaction that determines what ‘time to wait’ is acceptable. As the time to wait is directly linked to the bandwidth and speed of the network doing the transfer, we can see why very simply bandwidth demands will continue to increase. For years, I have heard ‘non believers’ say that they have enough bandwidth now, they will not need more speed, such as is the case today with talk of 10Gbps speeds. As with any faith it is often difficult to prove every point but sometimes one needs to just believe it happens.

Today, the size of files transferred varies over many orders of magnitude as shown in the table. The time it takes to transfer the information is linked primarily to the data rate of the network. From this particular table which shows transfer times at 1Gbps rates, it may appear that this level of data rates may not be required today, except in specialized cases and areas where the data streams aggregate. However, as stated this assumption relies on what is regarded as acceptable wait times. It probably explains at least why mobile and cellular users and also users accessing networks over the wide area and across internet are eager for the next level of 3G, 4G or broadband service which are still a far cry from 1Gbps speeds available in LANs. Users get frustrated waiting for applications to download and want instant response. This is probably another reason for the popularity of devices like the iPad which switch on almost instantaneously rather than the usual boot times for regular PCs.

Let’s be honest, we are impatient by nature and technology will have to keep pace with us, the users.

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