Currently I am spending a year in NCBS Bangalore. I like to experiment with Operating Systems (OS). Needless to say, I download them often. And they can be pretty big (>500 Mb usually). In NCBS, speed is often poor but there is a catch. Speed over FTP is much better (upto 1 mb per sec) than it is over http (upto 100K per sec). Not all FTP servers are fast enough, some are pretty bad. I found riken server to be pretty fast (http://ftp.riken.jp/) and I recommend it. DO NOT download from ftp using browser. Use lftp/wget/curl or some other ftp clients to feel the speed.