Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can travel a communications path in a given time, usually measured in seconds.
If you think of the communications path as a pipe, then bandwidth represents the width of the pipe that determines how much data can flow through it all at once. Bandwidth can apply to a number of devices and connections, but most of us are primarily concerned with our Internet, home network, or hosting bandwidth.
For most Internet users, bandwidth refers to how fast you can upload and download information over your Internet connection. Bandwidth can differ substantially depending on factors such as the type of Internet Service Provider (ISP) you use, your monthly plan limits, and the capabilities of your modem.
Home Network Bandwidth
Your home network is also subject to bandwidth limitations. If you use a router, your computers, tablets, smartphones, and gaming systems use your router to send and receive data to and from other devices on your network and to connect to the Internet. The higher bandwidth your router has, the faster your devices can communicate with each other.
If you host your own website, your bandwidth will determine how quickly your visitors can access your page or download content from your server, as well as how many simultaneous connections your website is capable of handling. As your site becomes more popular, you may need to upgrade to a plan with a higher bandwidth to accommodate the additional traffic.
Also See: Network
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t my computer download at the speeds my ISP promises?
There are a number of factors that can limit the maximum speed of any given device on your home network. First, the bandwidth provided by your ISP. Your maximum download and upload rates will will be as fast as you hope to reach, regardless of anything else. Next, your modem could be limiting your speed. If it’s not designed for the speeds you’re paying for, chances are you’re throwing away money. You should consider getting a newer modem or renting one from you ISP. It could also be your router. Wireless routers are typically slower than wired connection, and older wired routers may only be capable of handling 1/10 or even 1/100 the bandwidth of newer hardware.
If all your hardware is new, chances are the number of devices on your network is affecting your overall speed. If you’re paying for a 50 Mbps Internet plan, that’s the maximum bandwidth for your entire home. If you have five devices (computer, tablet, Xbox, and two phones) all trying to download at the same time, either they will split the bandwidth and each device will get 10 Mbps, or one device will hog most of the bandwidth, and the rest will run much slower.