Bandwidth: A Detailed Guide

9/3/2022

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Business networks nowadays are global, complicated, and digital. They require more bandwidth than the analog minds of previous generations could have dreamed. 

Bandwidth is the amount of data that may be transferred through an internet connection in a given amount of time.

There is a common misunderstanding between internet speed and bandwidth, which is the amount of data that can be sent through a connection in a specified amount of time and is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

We’ll examine services provided, bandwidth ranges, benefits, and drawbacks in this post.

What is Bandwidth?

Data exchanged between two sites in a certain period of time is referred to as a bandwidth in computer networking. Since bandwidth is shared by all devices connected to the same network and is typically stated in bits, megabits, or gigabits per second, activities like streaming video or large file downloads might use a lot of network bandwidth and hinder connections for other devices.In the case of I/O devices, bandwidth can also apply to some data-transfer devices themselves. For instance, a low bandwidth bus might hinder a fast disk drive—the primary reason for creating PC buses like AGP.

The term “bandwidth” in communications refers to the distance a signal may travel within a band of frequencies. This kind of bandwidth is obtained by calculating the difference between a signal’s upper and lower frequency limitations, and it is measured in Hertz (Hz). It is significant to remember that various signal kinds (music, voice, image, etc.) call for various bandwidths.

Different Bandwidths

There are many service classes for corporate communications, and each class has a variety of service possibilities. Some match specific commercial applications better than others because Public Wireless, Public Broadband, Private Networks, and Hybrid Software-Defined Wide Area Networks are the four basic categories (SD-WAN).

To help you choose the kind of bandwidth ideal for your business, we have created a summary table that contrasts service options, bandwidth, price, and a few other factors.

PUBLIC WIRELESS

Satellite and Long Term Evolution (LTE) cellular services, often known as 4G, are typically more costly than terrestrial services with comparable capacity. They could be the sole choice in regions where cable providers don’t offer Internet access and existing twisted pair copper phone lines can’t handle the volume of data needed. Satellite and 4G/LTE are both shared services. They are offered in bundles with bandwidth limits of up to 100 Mbps, and if more data is used, the price usually increases noticeably.

When utilized sparingly, they can serve as good failover solutions. A difficulty with satellite connectivity is high latency. Only a few locations presently provide 5G, the most recent generation of public wifi. Watch for updates on this revolutionary technology. If even a small portion of 5G’s promises materialize, it will be a strong alternative for commercial WANs.

PUBLIC BROADBAND

Broad bandwidth is referred to as “broadband” in shorthand. Both cable and telephone providers offer these high-speed Internet connections. To transport a lot of data, broadband internet employs numerous data channels. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable, and fiber are standard broadband options.

Depending on the service provider, several bandwidth options are available, DSL (up to 40 Mbps) is at the low end, cable is in the center (up to 300 Mbps), and fiber offers at the high end (up to 10 Gbps). In DSL and cable systems, upload speeds are frequently much slower than download rates.

Broadband’s key advantage is its comparatively low cost for high bandwidth. Among the trade-offs are dependability and security. A single public broadband connection might have poor quality or even go down. Voice over IP (VoIP) conversations fail, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) disconnects as internet quality deteriorates, which is unacceptable to most corporate users.

However, due to the inexpensive cost of the service, commercial users might not mind slight or infrequent disruptions. Businesses are increasingly using numerous broadband connections in hybrid networks using SD-WAN technologies to increase efficiency and dependability. Later, more on that.

PRIVATE NETWORKS

Private networks don’t exchange information, as the term suggests. They are offered by carriers as expert business services with terms for Quality of Service (QoS) under Service Level Agreements (SLA). Contracts have extended contract periods and are much more expensive than best-effort public broadband services (typically 36 to 60 months).

A data-carrying method for high-performance, private telecommunications networks is Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). It employs encapsulated data, is cut off from the rest of the Internet, and provides a secure transport method. A number of access technologies may be used by MPLS, with Metro Ethernet, fiber (up to 10 Gbps), or T1 (1.54 Mbps) being often used on the high end and fiber or T1 (1.54 Mbps) on the low end.

Before SD-WAN and broadband services were created, MPLS was the best way to guarantee point-to-point connectivity and stable network performance for real-time applications like VoIP and video conferencing. Like each other service described, a single MPLS connection is prone to failure.

Microwave is a wireless, private network service that offers symmetrical bandwidth up to 500 Mbps. Even under perfect conditions, low-flying clouds, snow, and rain might cause the microwave to malfunction.

The accessibility of services might differ across rural and urban regions and within a single metropolis. The carriers in the same area can provide a range of packages with various QoS assurances, contract pricing, and timeframes.

You may learn about the specifics of the services provided in your area from a telecom broker or managed service provider, who can also match your needs with the best solutions. If you want assistance, we would be pleased to suggest one of our partners. If you require a referral, get in touch with us.

SOFTWARE-DEFINED WIDE AREA NETWORKS (SD-WAN)

A strong public network can be built by combining any service from any provider using certain SD-WAN technologies, such as WANworXTM by Ecessa. There are several advantages to having two or more links to the Internet.

Resistance to carrier disruptions and resilience. With two or more different connections, SD-WAN networks can be set up to duplicate data over several connections or to offer automated link failover.

Without any data loss and downtime, data continues to flow across the undamaged link if one connection is severed due to a carrier problem or construction accident.

Security and conformity. Without paying a premium for MPLS and numerous T1 connections, businesses in regulated sectors may benefit from a secure network with dependable data, phone, and video services. High dependability and security may be attained at reasonable costs by utilizing numerous high bandwidth, low-cost public broadband networks and implementing SD-WAN capabilities like data encapsulation and encryption, a stateful Layer-4 firewall, VPN, packet duplication, failover, and other QoS features.

MPLS networks may be expanded affordably. There is hope for consumers who are “trapped” in a pricey MPLS contract! Regarding throughput, business efficiency, failover protection, and budget, adding less expensive internet in addition to a T1 or other expensive service can be a significant gain.

SPEED VS. BANDWIDTH

Although speed and bandwidth are closely connected and sometimes used synonymously, there are several significant distinctions between the two ideas to be made:

Bandwidth is the total quantity of data that can be carried at any one time.The time it takes to transport data is referred to as speed.

Consider an interstate highway as an example. The highway’s bandwidth is the maximum number of vehicles that may pass from one-mile marker to the next in a given amount of time, whereas the speed is the amount of time it takes for one vehicle to go between mile markers.

The size of the road (or the size of the cable) and the number of vehicles attempting to go simultaneously affect bandwidth (or the number of connections in use simultaneously). Speed may be impacted by bandwidth (the more cars on the road, the longer it takes for everyone to get from point A to point B), but connection speeds can also be affected by how far the data needs to go and other environmental conditions. The throughput of a network is determined by speed and bandwidth together.

What kinds of bandwidth are there?

Symmetric and asymmetric bandwidth are the two main categories. As the name implies, symmetrical bandwidth connections occur when an equal quantity of data is delivered between two sites at an identical rate of speed. An illustration of a connection with symmetrical bandwidth is video conferencing.

On the other hand, asymmetrical bandwidth connections are characterized by upload and download speeds variations. These connections offer quicker download than upload speeds and are often more cost-effective than symmetrical bandwidth. Examples of asymmetrical bandwidth connections include broadband and DSL internet connections.

What distinguishes throughput from bandwidth?

Although closely linked, throughput and bandwidth have different properties. The volume of data delivered from one location to another in a predetermined period of time is measured as throughput. The amount of data that can be transferred continuously is measured as bandwidth.

Another comparison would be that bandwidth is like the size of the pipes that the water is 

flowing through, and throughput is like how much water you can fit in a bucket in a certain length of time. Similar to how higher bandwidth enables more data to be delivered simultaneously, wider pipelines allow for better water flow.

What is the best way to gauge my internet bandwidth?

Speed tests can be used to gauge internet bandwidth. These experiments transfer data packets between two locations and time how long it takes for them to arrive. Network congestion is one of the main variables that might affect bandwidth. Because of this, some internet service providers purposefully control bandwidth utilization through the practice of bandwidth throttling.

Which Kind of Bandwidth Is Ideal for My Organization?

It varies. Consider the following.

  • Existing circuits that are governed by contracts For increased bandwidth and network resilience does it need to be replaced or merged with more circuits?
  • What security and compliance requirements are there? Are connections to distant employees or between sites via a secure virtual private network (VPN) required? Is it a regulated sector, like the financial or medical sectors? Is private data kept locally or at a data center?
  • What expectations are there for service quality and how urgent should communication be? How resilient is the company to interruptions and delays? Does business cease to exist?
  • How much is the budget?
  • What services are offered in the specific area?
  • How big is the network’s user base?
  • Why do they employ the network? Do they use cloud-based applications? Getting data out of a data center? big volumes of data being sent out?
  • Do they utilize a wide area network (WAN) to connect to branch locations? What number of places are connected?
  • What are their primary applications, and how bandwidth-intensive are they all? For instance, watching a 4K video streams far more data than reading an email.

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Conclusion

In short, bandwidth is the maximum quantity of data that an internet connection can send or receive at once. An internet connection might work significantly quicker or slower depending on whether the bandwidth is huge or limited. An internet connection with a higher bandwidth allows for significantly quicker data transmission than one with a lower capacity.

In general, bandwidth may be considered an indicator of how quickly data is carried over an internet connection. Work with a skilled provider that can help you create and obtain the system suited for you to understand more about your bandwidth and internet demands for your business.