What is bandwidth?
When we talk about bandwidth, what we’re talking about is the amount of data that can be uploaded and downloaded from your device or within a network during a specific timeframe. You’ll typically see this measured in megabits per second (Mbps) because it’s the volume of information that’s transferred.
What’s the difference between speed and bandwidth?
Bandwidth is commonly confused with speed but the two concepts are different things. Speed refers to how quickly information can be transferred, while bandwidth is how much information can be transferred each second.
Speed and bandwidth are interrelated, but they’re not mutually exclusive – what we mean by this is that you might expect a device with a high bandwidth to be fast, but this isn’t always the case. There are many factors that contribute to fast Internet speeds and bandwidth is one of the most important ones.
Why bandwidth is important
Bandwidth is important because it determines loading time for anything published online. It affects every industry too. Need to transfer some money? Or maybe you’re launching a new, complex tech product at work. You’ll need bandwidth to make it happen!
Bandwidth and data transmission explained
To explain bandwidth and data transmission, we first need to understand how data transfer works. When data is sent through a network from one device to another, the data is sent in small parts, called packets. Inside each packet is a heading that carries information about the data and how it needs to be put back together when it arrives at its destination. Bandwidth refers to how much information can be sent at once – so a higher bandwidth means more data can be sent across in one go.
More bandwidth is helpful when you’re trying to send and receive bigger or more complicated file types. Perhaps now you’re starting to get an idea of how bandwidth might be affecting the videos you watch, the images you send and even the work you do on a daily basis online.
How to check router bandwidth
If you’re a little worried about your router’s bandwidth (or don’t actually know what it is), you can check it – but some routers don’t make it easy. You may have to use third party software to give you a hand or even download an app (especially if you use Mac) to monitor your bandwidth and how it’s being used.
How to improve Internet bandwidth
There are a fair few ways you can boost your bandwidth, some of which won’t cost you a cent! Let’s take a look.
Change the location of your router
When it comes to wireless networks, proximity is everything. So if your Internet is slow or the downloads are taking too long, consider moving your router closer to your devices. Place the router in an open space away from anything that might get in the way, like dense brick walls. Other devices, including your neighbour’s Wi-Fi, can also disrupt the connection, so try to keep as clear a path as you can between devices and the router.
If you’ve had your router for a little while now, it might be time to update its firmware. You might not get a notification to do this, so be proactive and log onto your router’s admin dashboard and make sure everything is up to date.
Upgrade your Internet plan
Love streaming movies or do a lot of online gaming? You might benefit from an Internet plan that has a higher Mbps. More bandwidth will also let you connect more devices to your Wi-Fi with less interruptions, so it’s a good option to explore.
Have you tried rebooting?
This one may seem a little obvious, but since routers are often on 24/7, frequent rebooting can help strengthen the Internet connection. If that fails to work, you might like to get a tri or dual-band router for a stronger signal.
Get plugged in!
If your device is staying in one spot, plug into an ethernet cable. This will give you more bandwidth as you’ll be directly attached to the source. It’s well known that wireless is slower than a wired connection, so if you need more speed, plug in.
How secure is your network?
Bandwidth and internet speed are important, but so is the safety of your connection. Give us a call on 1300 642 213 and our Geeks can take a look at your network security and offer ways to strengthen it, or even help you set up your wireless network so you can get the most out of it.