What is Bandwith?

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Bandwidth describes the maximum  transfer rate of a network or Internet connection. It measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time. For example, a gigabit  connection has a bandwidth of 1,000 Mbps (125 megabytes per second). An Internet connection via  may provide 25 Mbps of bandwidth.

While bandwidth is used to describe network speeds, it does not measure how fast  of data move from one location to another. Since data packets travel over electronic or  cables, the speed of each bit transferred is negligible. Instead, bandwidth measures how much data can flow through a specific connection at one time.

When visualizing bandwidth, it may help to think of a network connection as a tube and each bit of data as a grain of sand. If you pour a large amount of sand into a skinny tube, it will take a long time for the sand to flow through it. If you pour the same amount of sand through a wide tube, the sand will finish flowing through the tube much faster. Similarly, a  will finish much faster when you have a high-bandwidth connection rather than a low-bandwidth connection.

Data often flows over multiple network connections, which means the connection with the smallest bandwidth acts as a bottleneck. Generally, the Internet  and connections between  have the most bandwidth, so they rarely serve as bottlenecks. Instead, the most common Internet bottleneck is your connection to your .

NOTE: Bandwidth also refers to a range of  used to transmit a signal. This type of bandwidth is measured in  and is often referenced in signal processing applications.

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