What is Bandwidth?

 What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth refers to the speed rate at which data is being transported from one point to another at a given period of time. Bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps). In modern networks, it is measured in millions of bits per second (megabits per second, Mbps) and billions of bits per second (gigabits per second, Gbps). The network performance can be affected by multiple different factors like latency and jitter, making a link perform like in lower bandwidth. A succession of links each featuring its own bandwidth makes up a network path. Thus, the end-to-end bandwidth attains the lowest speed link. The bandwidth choice is also dependent on the choice of networks for which those are applied. 1,000 bps will be enough for instant messaging, whereas 56 kilobits per second will be the optimal choice for VoIP conversation.

How much bandwidth do you need?

You get what you pay for. Depending on the things that you are going to do on the web and the number of people who will be using the Internet access point, you can choose the optimal speed that will match your needs. For example, if the bandwidth is accessed by 2 people, it is likely the speed at which the web data will load will be different. One person may be watching a high-resolution video without any lags, while another one may be trying to access a social networking site and wait until all content loads for quite a while.

In order to find out how much bandwidth will provide you with a flawless Internet browsing experience, run a speed test. With its help, you will identify the downloads speeds that will cause no interruptions or any other kind of issues.

Mbps vs MBps

Although these two may sound similar, there is a tremendous difference in their definitions. Bandwidth can be expressed in a number of units. These are bytes, kilobytes, gigabits, etc. Thus, one of them can be used by your ISP, whereas an absolutely different one will be used by a video streaming services. That is why, it's important to know the difference and find ways to switch between any, thus avoiding paying too much.

Let's put it in the following way. 20 MBs are not the same as 20 Mbs. While the former reads as megaBYTES, the latter means megaBITS. There are 8 bits in a byte, so the two values are differed by a factor of 8. If we write these two readings in megabytes, we would attain 20 MBs and 2,5 MBs (20 divided by 8).

Related terms: Internet, web browsing, web speed navigation.

References and further reading: