Posted this on SO before Ben Voigt was nice enough to direct me here. Anywho, here is my question:

When I say size I'm talking about bytes not pixels.

I'm curious if there is any consensus on what the maximum size should be for various categories. Specifically:

Broadband connections
Dialup connections
Mobile connections

1 Answer 1


The first question is how long is too long for the user to wait. Let's use 1.5 seconds, because that's what Google judges as too slow (see this question). So assuming a dialup user gets the maximum 56kbits/second, that's 5.6 kbytes (roughly) so that's 8.4kb. That's pretty small.

Broadband speeds vary, but assuming 1Mb for the sake of argument, that's 150k (1Mbit/second remember).

Mobile varies again. 2G (GPRS) is the same as dialup. EDGE is 236.8 kbit/s so thats 35k. 3G UMTS is 384 kbit/s, so 57k.

  • 2
    Good answer, but are you confusing bits with bytes? 1 bit = 0.125 bytes, so 56 kilobits per second for 1.5 seconds = 84 kilobits (kb) = 84000 bits = 10500 bytes = 10.5kilobytes. (kB) (See this calculation on Wolfram Alpha.)
    – Nick
    Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 16:46
  • 1.5 seconds may be what google targets for its search results but other services it provides such as gmail and docs don't get anywhere near that number unless your on a very fast connection. I think the time people will wait depends on what they are waiting for. Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 7:55
  • @Nick Network speed is in bits and page size is in bytes and I was careful to keep the two separate. There are 8 bits in a byte, but when it comes to serial transmission there may be 1, 1.5 or 2 stop bits and an optional parity bit, so it's easier to just assume 10 bits to the byte for rough calculation. Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 8:00

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