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Nielsen's Law of Internet Bandwidth (useit.com)
6 points by known on Jan 11, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments

Mentioning a specific year in this "law" really kills any timelessness you might otherwise associate with it.

Well, maybe, but really the "law" is two separate laws. The first one says that bandwidth grows by 50% every year on average. That's reasonably timeless, though presumably it will stop applying after a while.

The second one clearly isn't really a "law" in any useful sense, just a back-of-the-envelope calculation: plug in the first "law", and the typical size of web pages, and the constant factor that the first law doesn't state, and a figure of 1s for how fast a page has to load before there's little point making it faster, and out comes the conclusion that it's in ~ 2003 that typical pages load fast enough that you can start making them bigger without crossing the annoyance threshold of 1s.

Of course, that assumes that typical web page sizes stay constant over time, which I bet they didn't between 1998 and 2003. I certainly can't recall any time when typical web pages loaded in under a second for me. It also assumes that latency either doesn't matter or scales the same way as bandwidth, which is also a bit naive.

(The original article was written in 1998.)

At the end of the article he updates the charts with datapoints to 2008 and says that his original premise is still true.

Yes, and those "datapoints" are merely when the author buys, or claims to have bought, new equipment.

Not a very scientific proof for this law, in my opinion.

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