What is Bandwidth & How to Measure It?

Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer over a network, such as an internet, at any given moment. In simple words, bandwidth is the rate of data transfer. It is usually measured in bits per second. It is always better to have an internet connection with a higher bandwidth. An internet connection with a higher bandwidth can transfer data much faster than one with a lower bandwidth. For example, a movie or a video will stream faster if you have a high bandwidth.

There can be two types of bandwidth connection namely symmetrical and asymmetrical. The symmetrical connection has a same downloading speed and uploading speed. Whereas, an asymmetrical connection has a much higher downloading speed than the uploading speed.


How is Bandwidth measured?

Bandwidth is typically measured in bits per second (bps). However, as the modern networks have a much higher data transferability, it is usually expressed in megabits per second (Mbps).

Moreover, MBps is also a term which is used to measure bandwidth. It is essential to understand the difference between the Mbps and MBps.

For example, suppose the bandwidth is 10 MBps. Here, MB implies Megabytes. As per standard conversion rules, one byte is equal to eight bits. So, if one had to write the bandwidth in Mbps form, then it would be written as 80 Mbps.

This is an important point to keep in mind because different people in the network chain might use either of the two terms according to their convenience.

How does Bandwidth work?

The working of Bandwidth is quite to water flowing through a pipe. Here, a pipe with a bigger diameter will allow more water to flow through it. Similarly, a high bandwidth allows more data to transfer through the network.

If you have an internet connection with 10 Mbps bandwidth, then you would be able to download a 10 Megabit file in one second. Also, you will be able to download a 600 Megabit or a 75 MB file in a minute.

Bandwidth is also affected by the number of users which shares the same network or internet connection. For example, if one of your friends joins your home internet network via a wireless or WiFi hotspot, then the bandwidth will be shared between you and him.

Probably, now it will now take 2 seconds to download a 10 Megabit file. So, if you want to experience the full bandwidth then you should disconnect every device on the same network, which can eat away the bandwidth.

How is bandwidth calculated?

Mostly, bandwidth is calculated with the help of bandwidth or speed test websites, which are not accurate all the time. These internet speed test sites measure bandwidth by measuring the time taken by a file to leave its point of origin and download successfully at its specific destination.

Huge corporate organizations also need to calculate bandwidth. They would need to know the bandwidth necessary for successfully running all their web or online applications.

In general, if you only intend to use the internet to access social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, then even a low bandwidth internet plan would serve your needs.

However, if you are planning to do a data-intensive activity on the internet space, such as watching online videos on YouTube or even playing video games online, then you better go for a high bandwidth internet package.

Bandwidth Controlling

At any moment, you might require to work on multiple things in the internet space. Some of these non-critical things can run in the background, without disturbing things which you need to execute then and there.

Software, such as download manager, can help you allocating bare minimum bandwidth to not so important work, such as downloading a movie and allocated most of the bandwidth to ongoing activities, which are critical.

Another example is a BitTorrent client software, which has an inbuilt functionality to allocate internet bandwidth to different torrents, which are downloading or uploading files.

Bandwidth Throttling

Bandwidth Throttling is quite similar to Bandwidth Controlling, but things are in control of your internet service provider and not you. In bandwidth throttling, your ISP will deliberately reduce the internet bandwidth while you are surfing certain websites such as Netflix, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. This is quite irritating since you do not know about it explicitly.

Some ISP does bandwidth throttling on purpose to cater even bandwidth to its numerous other customers. Websites, like Netflix, YouTube, etc., require a lot of bandwidth and may lead to congestion for the ISP.

So, to make life easier, the ISP would intentionally throttle the bandwidth of some of the users.

How to get past of bandwidth throttling?

ISP has no rights to throttle the allocated bandwidth and moreover, you should have control over it. But how? Here, you can use a VPN or virtual private network to hide your internet activity from your ISP.

If your ISP is not able to know if you are watching an online movie or streaming Netflix, then it would never even try to throttle the bandwidth. Ultimately, you will have a seamless experience of watching online movies or videos.


Over to you on what is bandwidth

Selecting the right bandwidth will go a long way in ensuring a powerful internet connection for all kind of internet activity. You should carefully evaluate your internet usage before deciding on the right bandwidth plan for your internet connection.

Also, if you are having poor network performance then apart from bandwidth, you should also take care of other critical factors such as latency, jitter, etc.


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