Usability Improvement - Units For Bandwidth Limits


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The bandwidth limits are labeled "kB/s".  I presume this is kilobytes per second.


Many of us in the United States, and maybe elsewhere in the world, know and pay for our Internet speed in megabits per second.


Translating between kilobytes and megabits is maybe not hard, if you know that you need to do it... I use Google to do this, but it is potentially a problem.  (I have seen posts where users complain that even with setting bandwidth limits, their experience "browsing the net" is bad.  Did they correctly convert from megabits per second that they paid for, and kilobytes per second that they set in BTSync?)


We all know that 6 megabits per second equals 750 kilobytes per second, right?  We can do that conversion in our head, while watching TV and texting?  :-)


Personally, I think the best way to fix this is to let the user specify the bandwidth limit in either kilobytes per second or megabits per second (and provide a checkbox for the user choice). Also, you could spell out kB/s to make it CLEAR what it refers to.


I would also like to specify "upload rate of 30% of what's available, and download rate of 50% of what's available".  That would be harder for BTSync to implement, but might be useful.

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I could see something like this being useful, though it's really not that hard to convert KB/s to Kb/s (multiply by 8).


Additionally, depending on your ISP, there is another reason that this could be of little use - at least in the US, the vast majority of ISPs don't provide what users have signed up for (most of the time it's not even close).  It's not uncommon for a 20 Mb/s tier to only get 1.5-2 MB/s download speeds rather than the 2.5 MB/s that should be coming from a 20Mb/s connection (I have several friends with different ISPs that have this problem, some worse than others).  "Real-world" speeds seem to vary by day and time, and can be considerably slower than the advertised speed. Dishonest or unethical? Sure, but it's also how it is.  

The problem resulting from this is that if you set the speed limits based on your ISPs advertised speed, you'd often set the speed limits higher than the total bandwidth you really have available.  


The most reliable option is to do a number of speedtests at various times of the day (most of which provide your speeds in both Mb/S and MB/s), and then set your limits accordingly.  I've found that leaving 30-50 KB/s of headroom (ie .24 to .4 Mb/s) is enough for general web browsing (though not streaming anything), and that leaving enough room on the upload side is just as important as leaving room on download. 




I do like the idea of "xx% of whatever's available" though, as that would be very nice for connections (like shared cable ones) that slow down in the evenings. 

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piotrnik, I think you got it wrong.  Yes, it's not hard to convert from KB/sec to Kb/sec:  Multiply by 8.  But that's NOT what we need to do at all!  We need to convert from megabits per second to kilobytes per second.  Nowhere did I mention converting from KB/sec to Kb/sec!


We could certainly "overprovision" the speed that we tell BTSync to use, no matter what the units are for the limits.  But if I know my advertised or tested speed in megabits per second, and I am entering an amount in megabits per second, it's just easier. 


If I'm setting limits, I'm very likely not going to bother setting the limit to what my ISP has promised me.  There would be no point in that!  I may want to set the limit to half, or one fourth, of what my ISP promises. 


If I'm setting limits, I very likely know that the advertised speeds are not what I get.  I realize that my original suggestion mentioned speeds in terms of what we pay for, and what the ISPs advertise, but actual speed test results from or similar sites ALSO come in megabits per second, not kilobytes per second.


It's just a usability thing.  Not like world peace, or hunger in America....

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