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Reviewed by Nov 18, 2022| Updated on
Bandwidth refers to the data transfer capacity of a computer network, denoted by bits per second (bps). It may also be colloquially applied to show a person's capacity for tasks or deep thoughts at a single point of time.
Accordingly, bandwidth means a measure of quantum of information a network can transmit. The data volume that can be transported differs, affecting how effectively a transmission medium, such as an Internet connection functions.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) usually depict bandwidth speeds in millions of bits per second (bps), or billions of bps, or megabits (Mbps), and gigabits (Gbps). Overall, the higher the bandwidth, the faster a computer downloads information from the internet, inclusive of emails or streamed videos.
A network—being a group of two or more devices communicating between themselves—can transfer a certain amount of information. Bandwidth refers to the measurement of this amount of information. Data moves from X to Y, similarly to the flow of water through pipes from the point of supply to our faucets.
The bandwidth varies depending upon the volume that's transported and thereby impacting how effectively a transmission medium operates.
The connection may have a bottleneck where one network is restricted by the lowest speed reaching many computers at once. Many computers connected to the same bandwidth speed slows down the bandwidth for everybody sharing the same connection.
As per the regulation laid down by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for "Quality of Service Standards for Broadband Services" issued on 6th of October 2006, a subscriber must obtain minimum 80% of the subscribed broadband connection speed from ISP node to the user.
Accordingly, as per the Quality of Service of Broadband Service (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2014, a minimum speed of download must be 512 kbps to be provided to an individual subscriber by the service provider.
The required amount of bandwidth to surf the web smoothly depends upon the user's task. For example, a prompt messaging conversation may use one kilobit or 1,000 bits per second in bandwidth. A case in which someone's voice transmits through computer connections, also known as voice-over conversation, usually uses 56 kilobits per second (Kbps).
A standard video takes one Mbps, while High Definition video takes more than seven Mbps for downloading. Any computer can gauge the amount of bandwidth it gets at any given time. Special websites, or the ISP, can determine the bandwidth by sharing a file via the connection and then waiting for the information to return.