Are you old enough to remember when dial-up was the only internet access game in town? If so, you remember how laboriously slow page loading was. A page with only text might load in a minute or two. But throw in just one photograph and you could have been staring at the screen while the picture slowly filled in (from top to bottom) over five or six minutes. Data transfer speeds sure have gotten faster since then.
Faster data transfer makes it possible to load a typical website in under two seconds. With an extremely fast broadband connection and a decent computer or smartphone, you barely have to wait for data to load. You click a link and, boom, there it is. But there is a downside to all this. Faster data transfers have made the internet more complicated.
Not Possible to Decades Ago
All the behind-the-scenes activity that occurs online in 2022 was not possible two decades ago. Dial-up just could not accommodate it. Even DSL, despite being faster than dial-up, couldn’t handle the complexity of the modern internet. That is why people in rural areas have such a bad experience with DSL.
Broadband solutions like 4G rural internet from Blazing Hog solve that problem for people who do not have access to wired broadband. That’s good. Otherwise, DSL’s much slower data transfer rate can make the internet experience almost unbearable.
Scripts, Cookies, and Everything Else
I remember learning the basics of website development back in the 1990s. Displaying text was simple enough. Images were a bit more complicated, but not terribly so. The real challenge back them was in embedding a script in a website. Scripts are snippets of code designed to perform a function, load a third-party element, etc.
Scripts were used cautiously during the dial-up era. Why? Because they slowed down page loading. A single script could add minutes to page. Who has time for that? Even though the internet was pretty new back then, people didn’t have the patience to sit in front of the screen waiting for a script to do its thing.
Today, so much of the internet is run on scripts. Virtually any website you visit has half-a-dozen or more scripts built in. And of course, don’t forget cookies, data trackers, and those little snippets of code that follow you around the internet and send data to big tech companies like Google and Facebook.
Internet Complexity Privacy
Faster data transfer times are good in the sense that our pages load faster and web developers can include helpful scripts that enhance the online experience. The downside is that we are subject to multiple invasions of our privacy at the same time. As the internet gets more complicated, companies with an insatiable thirst for data invent more ways to harvest that data from us.
For example, did you know that Facebook partners with web developers for the purposes of harvesting data? It is a safe bet that a fair number of the websites you visited today have sent data about your visit back to Facebook. That function did not inhibit your user experience because data transfer takes place so quickly.
The average user has no idea what goes on in the background when one is online. Most people have no clue about all the scripts that are running and cookies that are grabbing data. It is not even a blip on the radar because data transfr speeds are so fast.
Faster data transfer has made the internet more complex. For the most part, that’s good. But it does have its drawbacks.