Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Students Don't Know


CHICAGO -- For a stranger, the main library at the University of Illinois at Chicago can be hard to find. The directions I got from a pair of clerks at the credit union in the student center have proven unreliable. I now find myself adrift among ash trees and drab geometric buildings.

Finally, I call for help. Firouzeh Logan, a reference librarian here, soon appears and guides me where I need to go. Several unmarked pathways and an escalator ride later, I am in a private room on the second floor of the library, surrounded by librarians eager to answer my questions.

Most students never make it this far.

This is one of the sobering truths these librarians, representing a group of Illinois universities, have learned over the course of a two-year, five-campus ethnographic study examining how students view and use their campus libraries: students rarely ask librarians for help, even when they need it. The idea of a librarian as an academic expert who is available to talk about assignments and hold their hands through the research process is, in fact, foreign to most students. Those who even have the word “librarian” in their vocabularies often think library staff are only good for pointing to different sections of the stacks.

The ERIAL (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) project -- a series of studies conducted at Illinois Wesleyan, DePaul University, and Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois’s Chicago and Springfield campuses -- was a meta-exercise for the librarians in practicing the sort of deep research they champion. Instead of relying on surveys, the libraries enlisted two anthropologists, along with their own staff members, to collect data using open-ended interviews and direct observation, among other methods.

The goal was to generate data that, rather than being statistically significant yet shallow, would provide deep, subjective accounts of what students, librarians and professors think of the library and each other at those five institutions. The resulting papers are scheduled to be published by the American Library Association this fall, under the title: “Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know.”

One thing the librarians now know is that their students' research habits are worse than they thought.

At Illinois Wesleyan University, “The majority of students -- of all levels -- exhibited significant difficulties that ranged across nearly every aspect of the search process,” according to researchers there. They tended to overuse Google and misuse scholarly databases. They preferred simple database searches to other methods of discovery, but generally exhibited “a lack of understanding of search logic” that often foiled their attempts to find good sources.

However, the researchers did not place the onus solely on students. Librarians and professors are also partially to blame for the gulf that has opened between students and the library employees who are supposed to help them, the ERIAL researchers say. Librarians tend to overestimate the research skills of some of their students, which can result in interactions that leave students feeling intimidated and alienated, say the ERIAL researchers. Some professors make similar assumptions, and fail to require that their students visit with a librarian before embarking on research projects. And both professors and librarians are liable to project an idealistic view of the research process onto students who often are not willing or able to fulfill it.

“If we quietly hope to convert all students to the liberal ideals of higher education, we may miss opportunities to connect with a pragmatic student body,” wrote Mary Thill, a humanities librarian at Northeastern Illinois. “… By financial necessity, many of today’s students have limited time to devote to their research.” Showing students the pool and then shoving them into the deep end is more likely to foster despair than self-reliance, Thill wrote. “Now more than ever, academic librarians should seek to ‘save time for the reader.’ ”

Before they can do that, of course, they will have to actually get students to ask for help. That means understanding why students are not asking for help and knowing what kind of help they need, say the librarians.

"This study has changed, profoundly, how I see my role at the university and my understanding of who our students are,” says Lynda Duke, an academic outreach librarian at Illinois Wesleyan. “It’s been life-changing, truly.”

Exploding the ‘Myth of the Digital Native’

The most alarming finding in the ERIAL studies was perhaps the most predictable: when it comes to finding and evaluating sources in the Internet age, students are downright lousy.

Only seven out of 30 students whom anthropologists observed at Illinois Wesleyan “conducted what a librarian might consider a reasonably well-executed search,” wrote Duke and Andrew Asher, an anthropologist at Bucknell University, whom the Illinois consortium called in to lead the project.

Throughout the interviews, students mentioned Google 115 times -- more than twice as many times as any other database. The prevalence of Google in student research is well-documented, but the Illinois researchers found something they did not expect: students were not very good at using Google. They were basically clueless about the logic underlying how the search engine organizes and displays its results. Consequently, the students did not know how to build a search that would return good sources. (For instance, limiting a search to news articles, or querying specific databases such as Google Book Search or Google Scholar.)

Duke and Asher said they were surprised by “the extent to which students appeared to lack even some of the most basic information literacy skills that we assumed they would have mastered in high school.” Even students who were high achievers in high school suffered from these deficiencies, Asher told Inside Higher Ed in an interview.

In other words: Today’s college students might have grown up with the language of the information age, but they do not necessarily know the grammar.

“I think it really exploded this myth of the ‘digital native,’ ” Asher said. “Just because you’ve grown up searching things in Google doesn’t mean you know how to use Google as a good research tool.”

Even when students turned to more scholarly resources, that did not necessarily solve the problem. Many seemed confused about where in the constellation of library databases they should turn to locate sources for their particular research topic: Half wound up using databases a librarian “would most likely never recommend for their topic.” For example, “Students regularly used JSTOR to try to find current research on a topic, not realizing that JSTOR does not provide access to the most recently published articles,” Duke and Asher wrote in their paper, noting that “articles typically appear in JSTOR after 3-5 years, depending on their publisher.” (JSTOR was the second-most frequently alluded-to database in student interviews, with 55 mentions.)

Years of conditioning on Google had not endowed the Illinois Wesleyan students with any searching savvy to speak of, but rather had instilled them with a stunted understanding of how to finely tune a search in order to home in on usable sources, concluded the ERIAL researchers.

Regardless of the advanced-search capabilities of the database they were querying, “Students generally treated all search boxes as the equivalent of a Google search box, and searched ‘Google-style,’ using the ‘any word anywhere’ keyword as a default,” they wrote. Out of the 30 students Duke and Asher observed doing research, 27 failed to narrow their search criteria at all when doing so would have turned up more helpful returns.

Unsurprisingly, students using this method got either too many search results or too few. Frequently, students would be so discouraged they would change their research topic to something more amenable to a simple search.

“Many students described experiences of anxiety and confusion when looking for resources -- an observation that seems to be widespread among students at the five institutions involved in this study,” Duke and Asher wrote.

These results can be taken in a positive light: as the library building has receded as a campus mecca, librarians have often had to combat the notion that online tools are making them irrelevant. The evidence from ERIAL lends weight to their counterargument: librarians are more relevant than they have ever been, since students need guides to shepherd them through the wilderness of the Web. Indeed, students who had attended library orientations or tutorials showed more proficiency than those who had not.

There was just one problem, Duke and Asher noted: “Students showed an almost complete lack of interest in seeking assistance from librarians during the search process.” Of all the students they observed -- many of whom struggled to find good sources, to the point of despair -- not one asked a librarian for help.

In a separate study of students at DePaul, Illinois-Chicago, and Northeastern Illinois, other ERIAL researchers deduced several possible reasons for this. The most basic was that students were just as unaware of the extent of their own information illiteracy as everyone else. "Some students did not identify that they were having difficulties with which they could use help," wrote anthropologist Susan Miller and Nancy Murillo, a library instruction coordinator at Northeastern Illinois. "Some overestimated their ability or knowledge."

Another possible reason was that students seek help from sources they know and trust, and they do not know librarians. Many do not even know what the librarians are there for. "I don't think I would see them and say, 'Well, this is my research, how can I do this and that?' " one senior psychology major told the researchers. "I don't see them that way. I see them more like, 'Where's the bathroom?' " Other students imagined librarians to have more research-oriented knowledge of the library but still thought of them as glorified ushers.

"Librarians are believed to do work unrelated to helping students," wrote Miller and Murillo, "or work that, while possibly related to research, does not entitle students to relationships with them."

Co-opting the influence of professors

In lieu of librarians, whose relationship to any given student is typically ill-defined, students seeking help often turn to a more logical source: the person who gave them the assignment -- and who, ultimately, will be grading their work. “[R]elationships with professors … determine students’ relationships with libraries,” wrote Miller and Murillo. "In the absence of an established structure ensuring that students build relationships with librarians throughout their college careers, professors play a critical role in brokering students' relationships with librarians," they wrote.

Because librarians hold little sway with students, they can do only so much to rehabilitate students’ habits. They need professors' help.

Unfortunately, professors are not necessarily any more knowledgeable about library resources than their students are. “Faculty may have low expectations for librarians, and consequently students may not be connected to librarians or see why working with librarians may be helpful,” wrote Miller and Murillo.

Several recent studies by the nonprofit Ithaka S+R have highlighted the disjunct between how professors view the library and how the library views itself: library directors see the library as serving primarily a teaching function; professors see it above all as a purchasing agent. Miller and Murillo heard echoes of that in their study. “I think that what happens is the librarians know how to search for sources, but sometimes don’t know how to do research,” one anthropology professor told them.

Professors are usually willing to try to put students on the right path. However, “a student will not necessarily succeed in research if he or she relies on the professor alone,” wrote Miller and Murillo. “… [Some] faculty members seemed to assume that students would pick up how to do library research, or that a one-shot instruction session, which at times professors erroneously assumed students previously had, would have been enough.”

This finding resonated with the librarians gathered here in Chicago. “Students do enough to get by,” says Lisa Wallis, a Web services librarian at Northeastern Illinois. “If they aren’t told to use [specific library] databases, they won’t.” And many professors, like many librarians, overestimate the research fluency of their students. For example, a professor might tell students to find “scholarly sources” without considering that students do not actually know what a “scholarly source” is, says Logan, the Chicago reference librarian.

At DePaul, “One of the professors said, ‘You mean they come to the library without the assignment?’ ” says Paula Dempsey, the coordinator of reference services there. “Yes. Yes, they do.”

Heather Jagman, a coordinator of library instruction at DePaul, described this as the “curse of prior knowledge” -- a phenomenon to which both professors and librarians are vulnerable. Teaching and library faculty are likely to have been exceptionally skilled researchers as undergraduates. Career academics might have a hard time putting themselves in the shoes of a student who walks into the library knowing practically nothing.

Pragmatism vs. Idealism

Part of the challenge for faculty in learning to serve students more effectively might be adjusting their expectations to the realities of what students already know -- and can be reasonably expected to learn -- in the space of a given assignment, says Thill, the humanities librarian at Northeastern Illinois.

In her contribution to the ERIAL tome, called “Pragmatism and Idealism in the Academic Library,” Thill wrote about the tension between library pragmatism -- the desire to satisfy the minimum requirements of a research assignment -- and library idealism, which glorifies the tedious unearthing and meticulous poring-over of texts. Unsurprisingly, most students tacked toward pragmatism, while “librarians and professors [repeatedly] wished that students could invest more time in contemplation and discovery, painting an idealized portrait of students leisurely wandering the stacks or pensively sitting down to await inspiration.”

Her findings, based on open-ended interviews with 30 faculty members and nine librarians at Northeastern Illinois and DePaul, pointed to the tension between the idealized view of academic research and the practical matters of deadlines and other limitations -- a tension librarians often have to resolve. If a student needs sources on a topic but does not know how to retrieve them, does the librarian find the source for him? Does she nudge him in the right direction but make sure he finds it himself? Librarians often have to walk that line between giving a person a fish and teaching her how to fish, proverbially speaking, says Thill. And the answer can rightly vary based on how quickly she needs a fish, whether she has the skills and coordination to competently wield a pole, and whether her ultimate goal is to become a master angler.

“Obviously I’m not saying we just have to be paper pushers -- just pushing out whatever it is the student wants,” Thill says. “But I think that, in general, we make decisions assuming that everyone is a career academic.”

This is treading on treacherous ground, and Thill knows it. The debate over whether librarians should be complicit in students’ efforts to “satisfice” -- that is, do what they can to get by and graduate -- can be a contentious one, since it runs to the root of what the library (and higher education in general) is for.

“To be honest I was almost afraid to write this paper,” she says, sitting in a conference room at the Northeastern Illinois library. “Whenever I talked to people about what my paper was about, they got their backs up.”

Thill says she does not think “satisfice” should be a dirty word. In her paper, she points to a 2008 NASPA Foundation study that indicated only 6 percent of college students earn a degree because they “like to learn for learning’s sake.” Back at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Logan mentioned the fact that a growing proportion of students are adult learners and first-generation students with jobs and family obligations. If these students are trying to “satisfice,” it probably isn't so that they'll have more time to goof off, she said.

There is also the somewhat dissonant fact that despite what the Illinois institutions now know about their students’ poor information literacy skills, many of those students have continued to pass their courses and eventually graduate. “I think we definitely saw that students are managing to get through without the level of certain research skills that we would like to see,” Asher told Inside Higher Ed.

“It’s not about teaching shortcuts, it’s about teaching them not to take the long way to a goal,” says Elisa Addlesperger, a reference and instruction librarian at DePaul. “They’re taking very long, circuitous routes to their goals.… I think it embitters them and makes them hate learning.” Teaching efficiency is not a compromise of librarianship, adds Jagman; it is a value.

Librarians and teaching faculty certainly have an obligation to encourage good, thorough research, says Thill, but they also have a responsibility to serve students -- and that means understanding the limitations of library idealism in practice, and acting pragmatically when necessary.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How Social Networks Might Change the Way We Read Books


Reading hasn’t always been seen as a solitary act. Our first experiences with books demonstrate that: before we know how to read, we often have people — a parent, a teacher — reading out loud to us. But once we know how to read, there’s a sense that we’re supposed to read silently and oftentimes, read alone. Even so, we’re still compelled to share what we’re reading with others — whether we’re reading for school or for pleasure.

It’s no surprise then, considering the ever-present “social” online world, that we’ve seen the rise of social reading websites, applications and features. 

Over the last few weeks, for example, Amazon has expanded the social features connected with its “Public Notes. “Public Notes” have been available since the beginning of the year, allowing readers to share publicly their highlights and notes from the Kindle books they’re reading. Now Amazon has made it so that if you link your Twitter and Facebook accounts, you automatically follow all of your friends and followers from those networks. As Wired’s Tim Carmody points out, it’s “a little bit creepy” to have the default setting do this, and you have to uncheck a box that automatically broadcasts your reading status too. But there are more granular controls for making public which books you’re reading, as well as the passages you highlight.

The social element can add depth to the understanding of what’s being read, just as book clubs do.

Amazon isn’t the only company to offer this connection between reading and social networks either. Last week, Google too made it easy to share titles of what you’re reading from Google Books to Google Plus. And Amazon and Google join a long list of other reading-oriented social networks, such asGoodreads, wherein you can keep track of what you read, as well as what others read, and of course, talk about books. 

Many teachers already use sites like Goodreads in their classes, creating private groups — “book clubs,” if you will — where students can talk about their assigned reading, write reviews, take quizzes, and the like. Unlike the nascent social networks being built around the Amazon Kindle or Google Books, a site like Goodreads doesn’t require that everyone have the same “hardware” — the same printed edition or the same e-reader, for example.

But there’s a lot of potential once and if students do share hardware, particularly when it comes to e-readers and e-books. As we noted in our recent coverage of Highlighter, we’re seeing lots of ways to mark up content, make notes in the margins, and share or save these electronically. But there’s also the potential for real-time interaction, within the e-book itself, where readers can hold discussions within the text and within the app itself.

That may seem like anathema to the idea of the solitary reading experience. And critics will point out that the social aspect create distractions from reading. But we can also argue that the social element can add depth to the understanding of what’s being read, just as book clubs do. Peers can help define words and concepts that are sometimes hard to grasp when reading alone.

Readers: have you used any social reading sites or features, or do you plan to? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how this has changed your reading habits.




Friday, August 19, 2011

11 Ways To Use Technology To Thank Your Donors | Idealware

This article was originally published in the August 2011 issue of The NonProfit Times.

Organizations use technology to engage donors, manage them in databases, and even accept their donation payments online. With a little creative thinking you can save staff time on this important step and increase the likelihood that donors will give again.

Such classic techniques as thank-you letters, phone calls, events and special gifts will never go out of style. Many of these translate surprisingly well to online or technology-enhanced techniques, providing both new ways to make donors feel appreciated and, in some cases, organizational savings.

Here are 11 ideas ranging from the simple to the high-tech to get started. 
  • Personalized Emails. Most organizations are already sending automatic emails to people who have donated online. A little creativity can increase the impact of those emails. Nonprofits with a small staff can pass around a list of donors and their email addresses and have a couple of different people send personal emails thanking them. Better yet, organizations that serve a certain populace, such as schoolchildren or artists, can line up a few of them to write personalized thank-yous that show people the power their gifts have to change lives. There’s no cost other than staff time.
  • eNewsletters. Many nonprofits have newsletters. It’s easy to turn them into enewsletters to email to donors, or to create a periodic enewsletter exclusively for donors offering short articles about special projects they’ve funded. Asking celebrities or experts to write a guest article or answer questions can give a newsletter a bit of appeal, and compelling stories and interviews can be of real interest to donors.
  • Online Profiles. Organizations can use their newsletters, blogs or websites to profile donors on an ongoing basis. To appeal to the widest possible audience, they can profile “typical” donors -- not necessarily the most generous or the ones who have been giving the most years running -- as a powerful thank-you. A profile of someone who gives a small amount despite their limited income because a nonprofit’s mission is near and dear to them, or who has a great personal story as to why they support an organization, can inspire other donors to give more.
  • Online Gifts. Many nonprofits offer incentives such as T-shirts or coffee mugs to those who make a certain level of donation. What about online gifts of appreciation instead of, or in addition to, these real-world gifts? Offering donors access to a mission-related webinar provided by experts, or to an online Q&A with a “celebrity,” can be a rewarding thank you. Organizations can mine their networks for potential candidates -- people are often grateful for the opportunity to contribute if given the chance. Other ideas include a mobile app related to the organization or mission, or an online game. As opposed to physical gifts, many online gifts cost nearly the same whether they’re given to one person or to hundreds of thousands.
  • Social Media Shout-Outs. It’s a good idea to thank people publicly, say in a list-wide email, because there’s a certain momentum to donations -- they can gather speed along with mass -- and because some people like the credit. But there’s a lot to be said for the perception of intimacy a personal contact can create, which is why the best campaigns incorporate both. Using multiple channels to give donors rolling shout-outs during an ongoing campaign can include Facebook, Twitter, email and a blog. For example, a “Donors of the Week” post on Facebook, or a thank-you can be tweeted every time someone gives more than a certain dollar amount, like bartenders ringing the bell for a big tip. Linking to donors’ own sites or blogs, if they have them, is another subtle means of thanking them.
  • Highlight Early Donors. Approaching a set of major donors early in the campaign to seed a matching fund that would then be promoted to other prospects through emails and the website can work particularly well for corporate donors. It allows them to essentially “sponsor” the email and online fundraising campaign, and gives them publicity for their gifts. 
  • Website Leader Board. For friend-to-friend fundraising campaigns, in which supporters raise money from their own networks on behalf of an organization, it’s possible to create an online leader board where fundraisers “compete” good-naturedly against each other’s campaigns. These public rankings can be a powerful way to thank high performing teams and to incent others to do even more.
  • Real Time Giving Updates. For live events where people are encouraged to give, with a little technical know-how, it’s easy to project the gifts onto a screen as they’re received. This can be as simple as typing the gifts into a document that’s projected from a laptop, to posting them in real time on Twitter and projecting the organization’s Twitter stream. Twitter also allows community members who aren’t there in person to vicariously experience the excitement -- and be inspired to give online.
  • Videos and Photos. More and more organizations are harnessing the power of video to capture and convey emotion often lost in email, and with video capabilities now included in nearly every camera and phone, it’s never been easier. From a staff sing-along to a classroom full of children thanking donors for their gifts, the ideas are seemingly limitless. Videos can be fun, or they can be serious. It’s up to the nonprofit to set the tone. Photos can be used in a similar way, for example, as a slide-show set to music that shows constituents or events or the beneficiaries of funding. These can be posted on the website and sent to donors as links in their thank you emails.
  • Interactive Thank You Pages. When donors click a button to donate online, they typically see a thank-you web page. Enhancing this page with something more compelling, like a Flash fireworks display or a thank-you video or slideshow, can provide a more exciting option. Since the donor’s name and information is already in the system, it’s possible to personalize the video, for example, by superimposing the donor’s name onto a “Thank You” sign held by a child served by the organization.
  • QR Codes. Growing in popularity, QR codes are the black-and-white graphics that look like bar codes that link people to a website when they scan them with their smartphone cameras. Including a QR code in a thank-you mailing or email is an innovative way to send donors to one of the web pages or videos discussed earlier. It also provides tech savvy donors an easy way to follow a link, and doesn’t require anything but the space in the letter. 

Most of these ideas can be executed for free by someone with a firm grasp of computers. Some might require an investment, some specialized knowledge, or the help of a programmer, writer or consultant. But donors are the lifeblood of your organization, making them feel appreciated is a good way to show gratitude and keep them donating.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Difference Between Speed vs Bandwidth.....The Age Old Question


Bandwidth vs Speed

Bandwidth is a very old term that predates the advent of computers and all other digital technologies. It is widely used in analog technologies like radio transmission, acoustics, and many others. In computing, bandwidth is often used to indicate the amount of data that is being, or can be, transferred at a given time. This is often measured in bits per second with common values expressed in thousands (kilobits per second), millions (megabits per second), and in billions (gigabits per second). Speed is simply a description of how fast things can be done. In computing, speed and bandwidth are often used interchangeably since they often mean the same thing.

A very good example when bandwidth would directly correlate to speed is when you are downloading a file across the network or Internet. Greater bandwidth means that more of the file is being transferred at any given time. The file would be therefore be downloaded faster. This is also applicable when you are browsing the Internet as greater bandwidth would result in web pages loading faster and video streaming to be smoother.

But in certain cases, speed and bandwidth do not literally mean the same thing. This is true when you talk about real time applications like VoIP or online gaming. In these cases, latency or response time is more important than having more bandwidth. Even if you have a lot of bandwidth, you may experience choppy voice transmission or response lag if your latency is too high. Upgrading your bandwidth would probably not help since it would no longer be used. Latency can’t be upgraded easily as it requires that any noise be minimized as well as the amount of time that it takes for packets to move from source to destination and vice versa.

To obtain the best possible speed for your network or Internet connection, it is not enough to have a high bandwidth connection. It is also important that your latency is low, to ensure that the information reaches you quickly enough. This only matters though if you have enough bandwidth as low latencies without enough bandwidth would still result in a very slow connection.




1. Bandwidth is a measurement of how much data can be transferred at a time while speed is a measurement of how fast things are done

2. Bandwidth and speed can be synonymous when measuring how fast you can download a file

3. Bandwidth may not directly translate to speed in real time applications




One of the most commonly misunderstood concepts in networking is speed and capacity. Most people believe that capacity and speed are the same thing. For example, it's common to hear "How fast is your connection?" Invariably, the answer will be "640K", "1.5M" or something similar. These answers are actually referring to the bandwidth or capacity of the service, not speed.

Speed and bandwidth are interdependent. The combination of latency and bandwidth gives users the perception of how quickly a webpage loads or a file is transferred. It doesn't help that broadband providers keep saying "get high speed access" when they probably should be saying "get high capacity access". Notice the term "Broadband" - it refers to how wide the pipe is, not how fast.


Latency is delay.

For our purposes, it is the amount of time it takes a packet to travel from source to destination. Together, latency and bandwidth define the speed and capacity of a network.

Latency is normally expressed in milliseconds. One of the most common methods to measure latency is the utility ping. A small packet of data, typically 32 bytes, is sent to a host and the RTT (round-trip time, time it takes for the packet to leave the source host, travel to the destination host and return back to the source host) is measured.

The following are typical latencies as reported by others of popular circuits type to the first hop. Please remember however that latency on the Internet is also affected by routing that an ISP may perform (ie, if your data packet has to travel further, latencies increase).

Ethernet                  .3msAnalog Modem              100-200msISDN                      15-30msDSL/Cable                 10-20msStationary Satellite      >500ms, mostly due to high orbital elevationDS1/T1                    2-5ms


Bandwidth is normally expressed in bits per second. It's the amount of data that can be transferred during a second.

Solving bandwidth is easier than solving latency. To solve bandwidth, more pipes are added. For example, in early analog modems it was possible to increase bandwidth by bonding two or more modems. In fact, ISDN achieves 128K of bandwidth by bonding two 64K channels using a datalink protocol called multilink-ppp.

Bandwidth and latency are connected. If the bandwidth is saturated then congestion occurs and latency is increased. However, if the bandwidth of a circuit is not at peak, the latency will not decrease. Bandwidth can always be increased but latency cannot be decreased. Latency is the function of the electrical characteristics of the circuit.




About Bandwidth

Internet bandwidth is, in simple terms, the transmission speed or throughput of your connection to the Internet. However, measuring bandwidth can be tricky, since the lowest bandwidth point between your computer and the site you're looking at determines the effective transmission speed at any moment.

Three factors outside of your computer control how quickly you can view Web pages:

  1. The Internet bandwidth between your computer and the site you're viewing.

  2. The round-trip time between your computer and the site you're viewing.

  3. The response time of the site you're viewing.

The tests referenced on this page address the first issue, and measure the Internet bandwidth between your computer and PC Pitstop's servers. We also have tests that can measure the round-trip time between your computer and seven different sites on the Internet, here. Of course, the response time of our site will always be wonderful...:) (If not, we'll tell you on the home page.)

Tests: Download vs. Upload

The differences between our Download and Upload tests aren't as obvious as they may initially seem. Yes, the basic difference is the direction of the data transfer: Simply put, the Download test measures your connection speed for viewing Web pages; the upload test measures the speed for maintaining them--or sending data over your connection.

However, the rated upload and download speeds may not be the same for your connection. Some connections, such as 33K and lower, are "symmetric," meaning the rated upload and download times should be the same. Other connections, such as cable modems and ADSL, are "asymmetric" (the "A" in ADSL stands for asymmetric). This means the upload and download times won't necessarily be the same; upload times are generally not as fast as download times. For instance, the rated speeds for ADSL are 1.4Mbps down, and 400Kbps up. Cable modems are typically rated at 1.5 to 3Mbps down, and 400 to 600Kbps up.

Occasionally, you may even see opposite results, especially on cable modems during the evening hours. If your connection has a heavy user load, the download times may suffer, while the upload times remain unchanged. This is because the majority of Internet users download data instead of uploading it.

Bottom line: You should regularly run our bandwidth tests to make sure you're getting the rated upload and download speeds from your connection.

About throughput and reproducibility

The Internet changes from one moment to the next in ways that are impossible to predict. You cannot expect to see the same bandwidth value every time you measure it. Furthermore, you cannot expect to see the full nominal speed of your connection for your bandwidth measurement: There are always delays somewhere. As a rule of thumb, if you can measure throughput that is 85% of your nominal bandwidth, more often than not your connection is performing at par. (You may need to contact your service provider or modem manufacturer to determine the rated speed of your connection and/or modem.)

This is especially true with modems. Most 56Kbps modems connect at a speed less than 46Kbps, because of the limitations of analog phone lines and telephone company switches.

To get the best picture of your Internet bandwidth, test several times. Also test at different times of the day: Your bandwidth measurement at 7 AM may be much better than your bandwidth measurement at 10 PM.

About bandwidth units

You will often see bandwidth and transfer speed quoted in two different units: kilobits per second, abbreviated kbps or Kb/s, and kilobytes per second, abbreviated KB/s. The difference between the two units is the number of bits in a byte, which is 8. The small 'b' stands for bits, and the big 'B' stands for bytes. Transfer speeds are often shown in KB/s, and connect speeds are usually quoted in Kb/s.

So, for instance, if a progress dialog for a modem shows you a download speed of 4.3 KB/s, it is the same as 34.4 Kb/s. If a progress dialog for a cable modem shows you a transfer speed of 100 KB/s, it is the same as 800 Kb/s.

We display our measured transfer speeds in Kb/s, to make them easier to compare with your rated line speed.

About bandwidth and modems

Bandwidth over a modem connection can sometimes be difficult to understand. There are two connections to a modem: one from your computer to its modem, and one from the computer's modem to the ISP's modem.

The connection speed between the computer and its modem (called the Maximum speed under Control Panel/Modem/General tab/Properties) should be set as high as possible without causing errors. On most computers this is 115200, also written as 115.2 Kb/s.

The connection speed between your modem and the ISP's, and the compression and error checking, are negotiated between the two modems when they establish the call. In the very best possible case, which is rarely seen, two V.90 (56 Kb/s) modems will be able to connect at 53 Kb/s with compression, and the compression on normal text transfer will average 50%, giving an effective transmission rate of 106 Kb/s. Very highly compressible material could be transferred at the maximum rate of 115.2 Kb/s. Incompressible material like ZIP files could be transferred at a maximum rate of 53 Kb/s.

Our download test transmits an incompressible block of random text. The theoretical maximum transfer speed for this over a V.90 modem is 53 Kb/s, if there was no latency at all on the line--that is, if there was no delay between the times your computer asked for a packet, our computer sent it, and your computer received it. With normal latency, however, transfer speeds are reduced to roughly 85% of the maximum, which for a V.90 modem would be about 45 Kb/s. If your modem connects to your ISP at the more typical 44 Kb/s, then you can expect our 



Bandwidth (computing)

In computer networking and computer science, bandwidth,[1] network bandwidth,[2] data bandwidth,[3] or digital bandwidth[4][5] is a bit rate measure of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bits/second or multiples of it (kilobits/s, megabits/s etc.).

Note that in textbooks on wireless communications, modem data transmission, digital communications, electronics, etc., bandwidth refers to analog signal bandwidth measured in hertz—the original meaning of the term. Some computer networking authors prefer less ambiguous terms such as bit rate, channel capacity and throughput rather than bandwidth in bit/s, to avoid this confusion.In computer networking and computer science, bandwidth,[1] network bandwidth,[2] data bandwidth,[3] or digital bandwidth[4][5] is a bit rate measure of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bits/second or multiples of it (kilobits/s, megabits/s etc.).

Note that in textbooks on wireless communications, modem data transmission, digital communications, electronics, etc., bandwidth refers to analog signal bandwidth measured in hertz—the original meaning of the term. Some computer networking authors prefer less ambiguous terms such as bit rate, channel capacity and throughput rather than bandwidth in bit/s, to avoid this confusion.


This table shows the maximum bandwidth (the physical layer net bitrate) of common Internet access technologies. For a more detailed list see list of device bandwidths, bit rate progress trends and list of bit rates in multimedia.

56 kbit/s Modem / Dialup
1.5 Mbit/s ADSL Lite
1.544 Mbit/s T1/DS1
10 Mbit/s Ethernet
11 Mbit/s Wireless 802.11b
44.736 Mbit/s T3/DS3
54 Mbit/s Wireless 802.11g
100 Mbit/s Fast Ethernet
155 Mbit/s OC3
600 Mbit/s Wireless 802.11n
622 Mbit/s OC12
1 Gbit/s Gigabit Ethernet
2.5 Gbit/s OC48
9.6 Gbit/s OC192
10 Gbit/s 10 Gigabit Ethernet
100 Gbit/s 100 Gigabit Ethernet




The Bandwidth Debate: Video and Net Neutrality

Video is creating huge increases in bandwidth usage. It currently generates more traffic in the US than was transmitted across the entire Internet backbone in 2000. While the Internet is not about to collapse, as video becomes the primary online delivery vehicle for entertainment, news and sports, the system will strain.

The Bandwidth Debate report analyzes the impact of the growth of online video content on the Internet transmission backbone, its availability and cost.

Looking at the future of the Internet, none of the players seem happy. ISPs insist that the costs of building out Internet capacity should not fall solely on them. Further, the proliferation of professional video content online—mainly TV shows and full-length movies—threatens the business model of cable companies, who are also major ISPs in most of the US.

On the other hand, companies invested in the TV business (networks, studios and cable providers) as well as major Internet players (Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!) and smaller sites all hope to carve out a share of the potential profits of video—and they are nervous, too.

In that light, the debate over network or Internet neutrality—Net neutrality, for short—is a power play, with involved parties using bandwidth issues as negotiating tactics for divvying up the pie.

Of course, as corporations scramble, consumers could be collateral damage. That is because several ISPs are looking to limit their customers’ bandwidth usage through techniques such as monthly download caps (often called throttling) and differentiated service tiers. The problem could even spill over to online video and advertising.


Monthly Consumer Internet Traffic Worldwide, by Segment, 2006-2012 (petabytes)

Key questions “The Bandwidth Debate” report answers:

  • How does the growth of online video shape the Net neutrality battle?
  • How much does video strain bandwidth capacities?
  • How could changes in ISP service offerings hurt online advertising?
  • How will government involvement affect Internet service offerings?
  • Can the ground rules for Internet usage be clarified?
  • And many others…
  • eMarketer Reports—On Target and Up to Date

    The Bandwidth Debate report aggregates the latest data from international technical, marketing and communications researchers with eMarketer analysis to provide the information you need to make smart, timely business decisions.    








    Friday, August 12, 2011


    Semalam kami terima email meminta semua staf JPSTM memakai baju raya ...lelaki lengkap dengan sampin dan songkok hitam ........wanita lengkap dengan baju kurung........khas bergambar berhari raya ...masa kul 8.00 pagi...tempat di Lokasi Pameran di dalam PTAR1... bergaya depan kamera ala ala model gitu... inilah model-model JPSTM... foto dibawah adalah bahagaian pertama nantikan bahagian kedua...puasa baru 12 hari bahang raya telah terasa....

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