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What Is Internet Bandwidth? A Complete Guide

June 12, 2020

Ever wondered why your business internet is slow? Does your service provider give the excuse of low bandwidth?

You read online of bits and bytes, of wireless LANs and network routers. Things quickly become confusing. And all you really want to know is:

What is internet bandwidth and why does it affect my company's communications?

This article provides a simple answer to the internet bandwidth definition. You'll understand the meaning behind the jargon and how it affects your daily operations.

Read on to discover how bandwidth can impact your business's success.

What Is Internet Bandwidth?

The tech answer: the maximum amount of data a network connection can handle over time.

The simple answer: how many videos, emails, Zoom conferences, etc., your connection to the Internet can handle without dying. The higher the bandwidth, the more you can do.

Think of bandwidth as a pipe. A narrow pipe can handle a trickle of water, but if the pressure builds, the water goes nowhere. Broaden the pipe and more water gets through.

Is Speed the Same as Bandwidth?

The tech answer: Bandwidth estimates a maximum delivery of data. It doesn't measure latency.

The simple answer: Bandwidth measures how many attachments you can send, and speed means how quickly they'll go. The two often get confused, and your Internet provider usually doesn't separate them.

Tip: Look for the Mbs number to gauge how good your Internet connection is.

Megabits Per Second

Bandwidth is measured in Megabits per second, or Mbs. The higher the number, the better the bandwidth and speed. The better the bandwidth, the faster your internet experience.

There's a difference between megabits and megabytes, and the two refer to different things. Megabits relate to bandwidth Internet speeds, while megabytes refer to file sizes.

Tip: To view your current Internet speed, google what's my Internet speed? Tap the blue button to see your performance.

Types of Bandwidths

As a business, you have access to several types of networks, each with their own level of bandwidth.

Public Broadband

Most businesses use broadband (aka broad bandwidth) to connect online. A box called a router connects to your phone socket to provide Internet access.

The average broadband speed in the USA is 32.89Mbs. That means you can download an HD movie in roughly ten minutes.

Tip: Be careful of maximum bandwidth restrictions!

Some ISPs limit the amount of data you can transfer per month. Seek advice from a professional before signing a contract.

Public Cellular

Cell phone Internet access in the USA offers high bandwidth with 4G services and the new 5G standard. But data rates can be expensive, so be careful.

A 4G signal offers up to 200Mbs, while 5G offers over 1000Mbs (or 1Gbs).

Tip: Watch the price of 5G contracts fall over the next twelve months. Then strike to get the best deal of this turbo-charged technology.

Private Network

If your business cannot share its data over a public line then a private network or leased line option is key.

Private networks aren't cheap, and you'll need to lease the service for at least three years. If you believe you need this option, speak to an expert.

Boost Your Business With Alura

We've broken down the geek talk and answered the question of what is internet bandwidth?

Unfortunately, there's a tech minefield out there to try and navigate. If only you had a partner who could guide you through it.

Alura offers a full range of business IT solutions for your business.

From on-site cabling to remote managed assistance, we can increase your productivity. There are no restrictions on our support plans, and our proactive approach means you're protected 24/7.

Why not contact us today and discover how Alura can help? We take care of the tech so you can focus on boosting your business.


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