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What Is Bandwidth? A Brief Definition

Have you ever heard someone say “I don’t have the bandwidth for that right now”? When people say this, they are indicating that they don’t have the time or energy for a task and have to say no.

This phrase connects back to the definition of “bandwidth” in the technological sense. But, what is bandwidth and why is it used in this common phrase?

This article will help you understand the basics of bandwidth and what that means to you as an internet user. Keep reading to up your internet IQ and, perhaps, better understand a commonly heard phrase.

What Is Bandwidth?

What is bandwidth? What it boils down to is: bandwidth is the highest amount of data that can be sent through an internet connection in a set amount of time. A common misconception is that bandwidth is the same as internet speed.

In reality, bandwidth is the rate given for the volume of info that can be sent through a connection in a measured time. That rate is calculated in demarcations of bits per second. It’s measured as millions of bits per second (Bps), also known as megabits per second (Mbps), or billions of bits per second, gigabits (Gbps).

Think of internet bandwidth as a volume, not a speed. Imagine water flowing through pipes. The water is the bandwidth (the amount of stuff moving), the size of the pipe determines how much water will flow.

What Affects Download Speeds?

To increase your download speeds, increase the size of your pipes. In this case, the “pipes” would be things like:

  • The internet plan you’re on
  • The type of server you’re using
  • Your hardware
  • Whether you are wired or wireless

Different internet plans have different amounts of allowed bandwidth. You should check your plan to see the amount of bandwidth you’ve signed up for. Afterward, run a bandwidth speed test by searching “bandwidth speed test” on Google and then clicking the “run speed test” button.

Things like unmetered dedicated servers give you faster download speeds. Unmetered dedicated servers have no limits on the amount available for use per the assigned bandwidth port.

If you’re using old hardware, like an outdated computer or old router, your internet speeds will suffer. If you’re facing slow downloads, reboot your router to strengthen your internet connection and signal.

Finally, if speed has been a problem for you, try connecting your computer right to the router with an ethernet cable. Directly wiring to the internet helps prevent connection and bandwidth issues.

Do You Have the Bandwidth for It?

Now you can answer the question: “What is bandwidth?” This can give you a leg-up when you face lagging download times and are trying to speed up your connection. Whether or not it will give you the bandwidth to face that next big task at work will be up to you.

If you have the bandwidth for it, check out our blog today for more helpful articles and tech tips.

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