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Of Bandwidth and Kilobytes. . . .

I connect to the internet with my 56k modem,
why can I only ever download a few Kilobytes a second?

Bits versus Bytes. Telephone modems max out at 56k per second, that's actually 56 kilobits per second, not Kilobytes per second. There are 8 bits in a byte and a thousand bytes in a Kilobyte. When you connect to your ISP, your connection speed is listed in kilobits. However, when you are downloading a file, the download speed is listed in Kilobytes. So, next time you connect to your ISP, take note of the connection speed, divide that number by 8, and that should be your maximum download speed in Kilobytes! WHEW!!

What is the relationship between my download speed and a picture's file size?

Obviously, a picture will take longer to download if it's file size is larger, but I'll spell it out:
Let's say you are on a 56k telephone modem connected at 48k or 48,000 bits per second. File size is listed in Kilobytes. So the first thing we do is divide 48 by 8 to get Kilobytes: 48 / 8 = 6. Your maximum download speed should be 6 Kilobytes per second. If the image you download is only 24K, it should get to you in 4 seconds (assuming no heavy internet traffic). A 600K image should take you 100 seconds, or 1 minute and 40 seconds. Thus the emphasis on keeping images between 20K and 60K. Please read the Scan and Upload page for tips on bringing your image file size down while preserving image quality.

What's the bottom line?

Get a cable modem if you can. Cable modems BLAZE! :-)
CLICK HERE to see if AT&T Cable Internet Service is available in your area.