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What is bandwidth?

If you’re looking into upgrading your internet, it’s worth having an understanding of what bandwidth is and how it can affect your browsing.

Setting up your internet can be difficult, and there are a lot of complicated terms that can get thrown at you.

One of the biggest terms that you will come across while sorting your internet is probably bandwidth, as it can have a big influence on the performance of your connection.

If you’re interested in learning more about what bandwidth is and why it matters, make sure you keep reading.

What is bandwidth?

The definition of bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over an internet connection in an amount of time. While this is easy to confuse with your internet speed, it differs, as it is actually the amount of information that can be sent, which can have an impact on the speeds and performance of your connection.

Bandwidth is measured in Mbps, or megabits per second, with more Mbps providing a better experience, as more information can be sent over each second.

The amount of bandwidth you need also will depend on how many devices you have connected to your internet, and how much power they require. For example, a family using multiple phones, consoles and computers will want to aim for a higher bandwidth than someone living alone who only uses their phone and TV to connect to the internet.

According to the FCC, if you’re looking to stream 4K content you will want a minimum bandwidth of 25Mbps, and a minimum of 4 to 25Mbps to game online. Gaming and streaming specifically require a better connection, as your bandwidth needs to respond in real time to your movements in-game.

Is bandwidth the same as internet speed?

While your bandwidth does have an impact on your performance, it is not the same as speed. The speed is how fast your information becomes available and can be downloaded, while the bandwidth is how much information can be sent over at one time.

As an example, if you’re trying to send a letter to someone, the speed of the letter is like the internet speed, dictated by the amount of time it takes for the letter to get to someone. Meanwhile, the bandwidth is the size of the letter you can send, with more bandwidth allowing you to send over a larger letter with more information in it.

Both of these factors are important to reliable internet, with your ideal setup containing a lot of bandwidth and fast speeds.

Can I increase my bandwidth?

You can increase your bandwidth in a few different ways. One of the most effective routes is to change your internet plan to one that offers higher bandwidth. However, you may want to check on what you use your internet for, with social media and general browsing only requiring 10 to 25Mbps, as you don’t want to overspend on bandwidth you won’t use.

You can also try and reboot your router to help strengthen your internet connection or upgrade to a dual-band router if you have multiple devices connected. You can also check out our best router list if you want to see the top options available to upgrade your internet.

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