Bandwidth and What It Really Means For You and Your Home

Tired of internet that lags and buffers, leaving you and your family frustrated every time you go online? If you want a solution to this problem, then you need to look at your bandwidth.

What is internet bandwidth and what does it have to do with your home’s network? Does bandwidth affect your internet speed? How much bandwidth do you need and is there a way to increase it? We’ll go through each of these questions and what the answers mean for your household internet.

What is Internet Bandwidth?

Bandwidth refers to how much data per unit a network connection can handle. Bigger bandwidth means more data transferred. Bigger bandwidth doesn’t necessarily mean higher performance, however. There are several other factors to consider.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer broadband packages in rates of megabits per second (Mbps). This rate refers to the amount of data that can be transferred in one second. ISPs will also quote bandwidth packages with different download and upload rates, usually giving preference for downloading. You might have an internet plan that allows 50Mbps for downloading, but only 5Mbps for uploading. Why is that?

Downloading data is more common than uploading in most households. Downloading data includes streaming a video, opening a web page, receiving email, or any activity in which your computer or device receives data from the internet. On the other hand, uploading includes sending an email, posting a photo or video to social media, or streaming with your webcam. Unless you frequently stream from your webcam or upload large video files (like Twitch gamers or YouTube entertainers) you don’t need as much upload bandwidth as download bandwidth.

With Vision Fibre Media, however, your full-fibre connection guarantees symmetrical download and upload rates. That means you have a bandwidth with 1000Mbps for both downloading and uploading.

Internet Speed vs Bandwidth

You might be wondering if bandwidth is the same as speed, or how the two might be related. For starters, speed and bandwidth are not the same. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred per second whereas speed is the rate that data is transferred. When you combine bandwidth and speed, you have a measure known as network throughput.

Let’s use a motorway analogy to understand these concepts better. Consider bandwidth as the lanes of a motorway – the more lanes available, the more data that can be transferred. A 50Mbps package can transfer data at twice the rate of a 25Mbps because there are twice as many lanes on the “motorway.”

Keeping this analogy in mind, think about speed. Speed is directly affected by the amount of traffic and available lanes on a motorway. If there are too many cars, you can’t travel as fast. It’s the same with data and your home internet. If multiple devices, like smartphones, computers, or gaming consoles are taking up “lanes” on the motorway, your internet speed slows down.

How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?

The amount of space you need on your broadband “motorway” depends on what you and your family use your internet connection for. To give you an idea, here are some common activities online and the minimum data transfer rates they require:

– Streaming video in standard definition – a minimum of 3Mbps

– Streaming video in HD – 5Mbps

– Streaming video in 4K – 25Mbps

– Gaming on a console or desktop – 3Mbps (but for better performance 15Mbps to 25Mbps is recommended)

– Videoconferencing – 1Mbps to 4Mbps

– General web surfing, social media, email – 1Mbps

Keep in mind that your internet speed slows down the more users there are taking up available bandwidth. The higher the rate of Mbps you’re allowed with your ISP, the faster your connection will be. If you have a large family that likes to use the internet at the same time each day, then 50Mbps is a good minimum. If someone in your family works from home, 100Mbps is even better. And if you utilise smart home systems, with objects other than your smartphone, tablet, or computer connecting to the internet, then the minimum should be 200Mbps.

How Can You Increase Your Internet Bandwidth?

If you’re experiencing slow loading times or lagging internet, is it possible to increase your bandwidth? The only way to have more bandwidth is to pay for more Mbps from your ISP. You can optimise your internet connection, however, to make your broadband connection faster.

– Test your network’s bandwidth with online tools to get an accurate sense of your internet speed

– Set your router to automatically reboot, disconnecting unused or unauthorised devices

– Prevent your programmes and apps from running in the background

– Scan for malware, which can run in the background without your knowing

– Use an Ethernet cable for stationary laptops and computers

If you want fast, no-hassle internet that keeps everyone in your family happy, then consider a full-fibre broadband package. Vision Fibre Media offers one of the fastest fibre internet packages in London, so you never have to worry about bandwidth or speed.

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