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I need help from someone who knows computers .


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He has DSL, not ISDN. Typically, DSL can take more punishment (theoretical 8mbps limit), but nothing is quite close to the 20KB/s he gets.


DSL is, however, quite sensitive to distance because of medium limitations so you should look for the maximum download rate and the minimum guaranteed transfer rate.


E.g., a 256 kbps link means (depending on notations, but roughly) 256.000 bits can go through. That is, 8 bits in a byte, 32000 bytes a sec, which is some 31 KB. Substract overhead of TCP/IP and you are left with some 28 K/s. Also, remember that for some types of connections and subscriptions, a "transfer rate" is advertised which is upload + download. Not typical for DSL though.


Over long distances, things like lag, loss, noise, etc can further lower your maximum speed. Even weather. If you have a 256kbps line, you might have a noisy line - for example. Or you might benchmark against a far away server. Try something close to you and match that. The ISP's outside connection might be shady. Try a download from the ISP's site itself, simplest method (not full-proof).


As a rule of thumb, ask for the speed you should be getting, divide by 8 and then substract some 10-15% for overheads. A megabit line gets roughly 96-104 KB/s actual transfer. Expect more losses if connected via unshielded long distance lines like DSL.


If you want the relaxed opinion of some person, my bet is you have a 200-256 kbps download line +/- some line noise.


Oh and a 386-486 can handle gigabit links so computing power is not the issue, stop your worries. I also doubt there is a computer configuration issue, either.

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