Offices are no longer the only places that depend on the Internet. Almost all homes have an Internet connection these days.
It has become an essential part of everyday life and makes it easy for people to work, socialize online, and maintain long-distance relationships.
When you compare internet packages, Internet speed is often one of the first things you tend to look at. This is one of the key factors that determine the quality of a plan.
But, what do you know about internet speed? How it works? How is it determined? What factors influence it? Take a walk through this basic guide to internet speed and understand better.
Understanding the speed of the Internet will help you determine what type of Internet connection is best for your family’s needs.
The meaning of internet speed and why it matters
Simply put, Internet speed is the speed at which information or data travels from the World Wide Web to your personal device (computer, cell phone, laptop, etc.). This speed is measured in terms of Megabits per second, or simply Mbps.
Internet speed is important because it determines what you can and cannot do on your computer and how many devices you can connect simultaneously. For example, if your speed is extremely slow, you may have serious problems attending virtual meetings, watching videos, downloading files, or playing games.
If you look at the advertisements of Internet service providers, you will notice that they always display the different ranges of Internet speeds offered by their plans. This is because they know that the speed of the Internet is a determining factor for all kinds of consumers.
Glossary of Internet Speed Terms
While most people may know internet history, not everyone understands the different concepts associated with Internet speed.
- Byte – You already know that internet speed is measured in “bits” terms. Bytes are terms used to understand the amount of memory available or the amount of data transferred. And, one “byte” measurement is equal to eight “bits”.
- Broadband – The overall measurement of speed is made in terms of broadband. It means the speed at which data can be transmitted, such as streaming games or movies.
- Bandwidth – Bandwidth determines how many devices you can connect to the Internet at the same time. The higher the bandwidth, the more data can be transferred simultaneously through your network.
- Latency – This term is used to refer to the delay in transmitting data from the source to your computer or other devices.
- Upload and download – Upload time is the speed at which information is received by your router from external sources. Conversely, download time is the speed at which you can send information to external sources.
- Ping and ping time – Ping is a test used to determine the accessibility of a server. It sends a data packet to the respective server and checks how long it takes to come back. Ping time is the speed at which this data travels to the server and back.
How do different types of the Internet affect speed?
The speed depends a lot on the type of connection you have. Consider the following for a better understanding.
This type of connection is almost obsolete because it is the slowest of all. It does not support broadband and hence comes with limited bandwidth.
Digital subscriber line
Often referred to as DSL, this connection looks a lot like a telephone line. But it has different wiring inside and allows broadband transmission, which makes it much faster than a dial-up connection.
This type provides wireless internet to receivers. However, it still needs cables to carry signals from the receiver to different parts of the building or area. And while it has considerable bandwidth, it can sometimes be slow due to latency issues.
With excellent broadband capabilities, this type of connection uses cables to transfer the Internet to receivers. This is a broadband connection, widely preferred by most Internet consumers.
Widely available, it is the latest internet connection that uses fiber optic cables to transmit large amounts of data at incredible speeds. Maybe the only limitation is that it is very expensive. If you have the money to spend, fiber connections are great because they offer the highest speeds.
Choose the right internet package
Besides taking the above factors into account, you can also compare internet plans online before making your decision. Many reliable websites allow you to compare factors like speed, price, discounts, etc. to help you make a decision.
Also, be sure to take into account the number of devices you will be connecting to the internet at the same time, the number of people in the house, etc., before making your decision.
When it comes to speed, think about how you will be using the internet. Do you spend a lot of time gaming and browsing eCommerce websites? Do you use online platforms to watch movies? Answering vital questions like these and many more will tell you what speed you should opt for.