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Broadband Speeds Explained - What You Need to Know About Internet Speeds

By Rizwan Ahmad - 01 December 2012 No Comments
Broadband speed is one of the most important factors to look out for when it comes to choosing the perfect broadband package to suit your requirements. Long gone are the days when a dial-up connection was adequate. Today, people use the Internet for sending and receiving large email attachments such as pictures and movies, streaming online media through sites like YouTube, downloading content and much more. Although there are many areas of the world, including remote areas of the US, which still do not have any access to standard broadband Internet access, this is rapidly changing. Whether you are looking to upgrade your existing connection or you are getting broadband for the first time, the following article will explain broadband speeds and why they are important.

Bandwidth Explained
Bandwidth refers to the amount of information that your Internet connection can handle. Broadband is a wide bandwidth Internet connection as opposed to the extremely slow and inefficient low bandwidth connections afforded by dial-up networking. In short, the higher the bandwidth, the better!

 What You Need to Know About Internet Speeds
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Internet bandwidth is measured in kilo bits or megabits per second though novices often confuse these with kilobytes and megabytes respectively. An Internet service provider will almost never refer to their bandwidth speeds in the latter. This is also somewhat of an advertising thing, since the measurements given are actually eight times slower than some people assume they are. A one megabit broadband connection, for example, has a maximum theoretical download speed of 128 kilobytes per second and NOT one megabyte per second – i.e.: one bit is equal to eight bytes.
Any Internet connection offering a maximum download speed of 51kbps or more is considered to be a broadband connection, although this is not adequate in many situations. This is still around nine times faster than dial-up Internet.

How Fast Does My Connection Need to Be?
Dial-up connections are extremely slow with maximum speeds of 56kbps. At these speeds, it takes, for example, at least ten minutes to download an MP3 song. Streaming online media, particularly video, or viewing graphically-intensive websites is practically an impossibility in many cases.

If you use the Internet for nothing other than checking your emails and some light Internet surfing, then a broadband speed of 512kbps is adequate. If you like to view streaming videos on sites like YouTube or download music from services like iTunes, then you should, ideally, have at least 2mbps of available bandwidth. This is also the recommended requirement for many online video games. For those who want to be able to stream high-definition video and use the Web for other bandwidth-intensive tasks, a minimum speed of 8mbps is necessary. For heavy Internet users who download a great deal of data on a regular basis, you can never have too much bandwidth. The same is true of shared Internet connections.

Other Considerations
The bandwidth figures given by Internet service providers are maximum possible download speeds but, in reality, the speed also depends on the speed of the website or download server you are connecting to, connection quality and the service status itself.

Upload speeds are generally a quarter of the download speed. Upload speeds usually aren't so important. Uploading refers to sending data from your computer over the Internet. If, for example, you want to use your connection for having live video conferences or chats in high definition, then you will need to have a high upload speed as well.

Sam Jones, the author, has pay as you go mobile broadband and sometimes struggles to meet his purported top speeds.

Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by Sam Jones and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of cyberockk.com, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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