We know, so many technical terms and the way we use them on a daily basis create confusion. The truth is that, when connecting to the network, we must take into account each tool, system, device and the technology applied to identify each of these terms. Fortunately, we are going to explain the differences so that the task of knowing what bandwidth, speed and latency, is much easier.
We will review each of these concepts, recognizing their definition, properties and differences: What is the bandwidth? This is the maximum capacity and amount of data that can be transmitted through a connection (Internet, for example), at a given time. Something that you should be clear about is that the network’s bandwidth is essential for the quality and speed of the connection.
Bandwidth is measured in bit/s or its multiples k/bits or m/bits per second. Always make sure that you have the largest bandwidth that you can, because this way you will have a better and faster data transfer.
An example to understand it easily it is normal that there are daily confusions between the bandwidth and the speed of a connection, for which users usually blame a bad service and a bad browsing experience, simply on the internet. Well, to give a reference that allows to easily differentiate these two terms: just pretend that bandwidth is like a hose and the water is internet speed. If the hose is large, the water pressure will be greater, while if its diameter is smaller, the water will come out with less power. This way, it’s easier for you to understand that bandwidth is the bits stream of information (hose) and the transfer rate (pressure) is what measures how long it takes a host (server) to put on the transmission line the data packet you want to send. The more information that is sent, the more the bandwidth will have to be increased. In a company that needs a connection at its facilities, it is advisable to validate a calculation of how many users will access the network at the same time and in this way to know the bandwidth requirements required to have an optimal service.
And what is speed then? This term can be defined as the speed at which information is transmitted. When a user purchases a package with an Internet service provider, receives, for example 10 mbps, 30 mbps, 100 mbps, etc. And this refers to the amount of data that we can download or upload to the network. As a recommendation, what is indicated is that for the speed to exist it is necessary to have a bandwidth equal to or greater than the speed contracted in the service package.
Understanding the speed of uploading, downloading, uploads and downloads Surely you have heard about the speed in each of these cases, although it is still somewhat complex to understand what the difference is between them. Well, it is a matter of megabytes, a measure in which the upload and download speed is established.
Upload and download speed. To show what is the upload speed of information, it is enough to talk about social networks; for example, you want to post a photo, you need to upload it to a server and this will make your upload speed requirement of at least 1 Mbps for your friends to see your profile photo.
Depending on the task that is going to be carried out on the Internet, the user’s needs vary and this means that it must be taken into account that, from the application or tool to be used, will depend the speed of the information received or sent. To cite a few examples, if your intention is to use email or just browse on the web, then you will need between 1 and 10 Mbps to access this tool without any problem. But instead, to watch a movie on a streaming service in HD or 4k quality, possibly will require between 3 and 25 Mbps so that the content doesn’t stop, which sets it up as a download action.
Upload and download speed Internet download speed refers to the time it takes for information to arrive from the servers that store a website, video or any type of content, until it can be viewed by us. The loading speed is the time it takes for the information to arrive from our PC or mobile to the Internet.
Normally we see in the advertisements of all the operators, that these offer any amount of megabytes in navigation; this numerical value is for download speed only. To find the upload speed, it is necessary to access a test that reveals what the result is and if what they promise us is true or not.
What is latency? You should know that it is the total time that elapses from when you send information, until it reaches a receiver. Its measurement value is done in milliseconds, it is also known as a ping and it is present in
activities that you do every day like playing games online or making video calls.
Does latency affect the speed of your connection? The connection speed influences the latency once we pass a predetermined range. Putting it in an example, if we have an Internet connection of 1 Mbps and we compare it with a connection of 100 Mbps, depending on the size of the packet, a great improvement in speed will be noticed. Other factors that matter when talking about latency are being connected to the internet by Wi-fi or cable, whether you have fiber optics service or how far there is between your computer and a router, etc.
The connection latency is also the sum of other delays:
-Processing: it is defined as the time that routers take to examine the header and, in turn, the response to determine where any packet should be sent by previously checking their routing tables.
-Queue: waiting time for the packet to be able to be transmitted through a physical link. It should be noted that we cannot know in advance if there is going to be a queue delay or not, since it changes over time.
-Transmission: it is the time it takes for the packet to arrive at the next node or other final destination.
-Of propagation: it is the time it takes a bit to propagate from any source point until it reaches a destination point. Its speed depends on the physical means through which it is transported and is always less than or equal to the speed of light.
The total delay is the sum of all the previously stated delays.
Latency is commonly associated with broadband, but there is a substantial difference between the two. While both affect the speed of the connection, broadband allows a large amount of data that can be transmitted, while latency determines how fast that amount of data is transmitted.
Compiling the above, you already know what is bandwidth, speed and latency. Remember, although these terms belong to a similar language, their features and functionality are unique and different. In order to have an optimal internet connection service, it is essential that you understand in depth that a failure does not depend only on the server but also other actors intervene such as bandwidth that will allow you to transmit the amount of data you need at maximum capacity; also that the speed will determine how fast and of what quality you can upload or download data and information from the network and finally that the latency is essential to determine how long it will take for information to reach a receiver from a computer.