There are many different broadband packages available, each offering a particular speed. Before purchasing your broadband package, it is important to understand which broadband speed best meets your requirements.
What is broadband speed?
- Broadband speed, otherwise known as bandwidth, is how much digital information can be received over the line in the form of binary digits.
- Speed and bandwidth are measured in kilobits per second (Kbps) and megabits per second (Mbps). Do not get these confused with kilobytes and megabytes, these are measurements used when talking about hard drive space, not broadband speed. (Occasionally Kilobytes and Megabytes are used when comparing file transfer speed as well 8 bits = 1 byte, so 1mbps = 0.125 MBps)
- The higher the speed or bandwidth, the faster the Internet connection.
Finding the speed to suit you
- Different speeds suit different purposes. For example, video and music streaming requires a greater bandwidth compared with viewing a website.
- The different speeds that are available with broadband are:
- If you only use the Internet for viewing websites and sending emails, the 256Kbps speed is most likely to suit you. You cannot get the best out of music and video streaming, but this speed may be sufficient for low intensity users.</li>
- Speeds ranging from 512Kbps and 1Mbps give a good performance in music and video streaming,streaming; they are also suitable speeds for the less demanding online games. These speeds are the most popular in homes and small businesses because they offer the best balance between price and performance.</li>
- If you download a lot of music and video files, play demanding online games or share the Internet connection between many users, the faster speeds may suit you. The higher speeds range from 2Mbps to 10Mbps.</li>
- 256Kbps – This speed is appropriate for viewing most websites, taking about 3 seconds for the website to load. This speed is about 5 times faster than the speed given with a 56Kbps dial-up Internet connection.
- 512Kbps – This is the most common speed used in homes and small businesses. It takes 1.6 seconds for a website to load and about 1.5 minutes to download a 5 minute music file at maximum speed. This speed is suitable for video and music streaming and for viewing most websites.
- 1Mbps – This speed is also commonly used amongst homes and small businesses. It is appropriate for website viewing, streaming and online gaming. It takes 0.8 seconds to load a web page and about 40 seconds to download a 5 minute music file at maximum speed.
- 2Mbps – This and faster speeds are more suitable for people who play a lot of demanding online games. It is also suitable for people who share one Internet connection between many PC-s. It takes 0.4 seconds to load a website and about 20 seconds to download a 5 minute music file at maximum speed.
- 8Mbps (ADSL Max) – Many providers are now offering this option. It is a variable speed product where your provider will give you the maximum speed that your line can support (up to 8mbps) and the upload speeds are also increased.
- 24Mbps (ADSL2+) – Ultra fast broadband offered by some providers (Cable up to 10mbps). The speed of your broadband will depend on how close you are to the exchange, the quality of the copper and whether there is any interference from other devices or users. If you are very close to the exchange, there is no line noise and the quality of copper is good you will recieve 24Mbps, otherwise you will receive the best speed up to this. These high speed services are particularly good for watching realtime DVD quality films.