Why we need faster internet – reason #45

Dropbox, originally uploaded by LanceWiggs.

Dropbox let’s us sync computers so that the same files are on each of our laptops, desktops and even iPad and iPhone.

But with lousy capacity speeds and data caps this otherwise wonderful program is frustratingly useless. This a snapshot of Dropbox’s progress trying to sync 5GB of files between my laptops – apparently it will take 10 days at my current ADSL speeds.

Published by Lance Wiggs


8 replies on “Why we need faster internet – reason #45”

  1. If you do an initial sync on the same network the machines should connect directly, and subsequent syncs are only differential – a huge time saving.

    I have a 100Mbps/10Mbps service here and still had to wait a few hours overnight for a 3GB initial backup when updating one of my parents-in-law laptops. But if you are doing between your own machines, stick them together in the LAN for the first action.

    Also remember, having fast service with crap hardware doesn’t help. I am using a Cisco SRP router here to support the 100Mbps service. If I stick one of the cheap routers I don’t get half of the speed.

    Even inside your LAN, if you use a switch you should make sure you get a decent gigabit box, otherwise you limit your LAN speeds to 10% of what most laptops can do today.

    You get what you pay for…


    1. Thanks Mauricio yes – eventually the laptops discovered each other on the LAN and the speed accelerated wildly. Your 100/10 service would still suffer contention on the international connection, if not the backhaul right?


  2. I’ve found DB is quite slow even in places with reasonable internet, eg the UK. If you use the beta versions (found in the DB forums) you can sync over a LAN. Or just use rsync.


  3. Agreed. Data and bandwidth caps are preventing new services from being used.

    Instead of counting how many bits we send they should count how much bandwidth we use. I would be happy to pay for 2Mbps down and 512Kbps up if there was no data cap. Similarly, if I wanted 20Mbps down and 5Mbps up. But I don’t want a data cap.

    A great service to offer NZ families is off-site backups ($5 a month?) but whilst we have data caps that kind of business just isn’t viable unless you get into bed with one of the major isp/telcos and insist that users of the service switch to that isp/telco. And my network neutrality just cannot handle that kind of limitation.


  4. I imagine this is more to do with how DropBox’s protocol handles (or, rather, doesn’t handle) large numbers of small files. If it’s a lengthy handshake, one packet to zap the file over, then the connection gets torn down then the latency will murder performance pretty much regardless of how much bandwidth is there.


  5. From my experience that’s a dropbox problem not a connection problem.

    They give you slow bandwidth if downloading off their servers, but if it’s peer to peer it’s much faster. Basically they’re being cheap…


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