The term bandwidth is very common these days, especially because its technology affects almost all aspects of our lives. You use bandwidth when you connect to the internet, when you use the telephone, when you watch television, and in many other activities. But what exactly is bandwidth? Read on to find out and see how it can change your life.
The term ‘bandwidth’ refers to the amount of data or information that can be transmitted over a network in a given time, or, in much simpler terms, is a measure of how much ‘stuff’ is sent through any connection. Information sent can take many forms depending on the channel.
How bandwidth affects you
Bandwidth in internet terms is usually expressed in either bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (kbps), or megabits per second (mbps). The higher the bandwidth of your connection, the faster you can upload and download data from the internet. Dial-up connections are low speed at only about 50+ kbps, while better cable connections go from 500 kbps and up. Whether you need a connection that has bigger bandwidth depends on your purposes for using the internet. If you only use the net for text-based research purposes, you don’t need much bandwidth. A whole page of English text is only about 16,000 bits, so if your modem can move about 57,000 bits per second, you are more than covered. You may need higher bandwidth if you upload or download full-motion and full-screen video, which, depending on compression, requires roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second. It is wise to subscribe to a high-bandwidth connection if you use the internet for pictures, graphics, music and videos.
The telephones use bandwidth, too – in fact, a bandwidth of about 3,000 ‘cycles per second’ (cps) is required for voice transmission. The bandwidth required for television broadcasting is even higher at about 6 million cps, and satellite system prevent interference by spreading television signals using bandwidth of as little as 17.5 MHz to a as much as 72 MHz.
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