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# Broadband? Bandwidth? What Does It All Mean!

Cel Mengata from St Paul, Minnesota writes:

What is the difference between bandwidth and Broadband, and how do they work?

There is a term called technobabble, which is when industries use language and words that are common knowledge in that industry but to the rest of the world make little or no sense. I’ve yet to figure out why Internet service providers still insist on referring to terms like bandwidth, broadband, symmetric/asymmetric, and latency without making sure to explain what they mean and why they matter. I’ll go over each term and what they mean to you as a subscriber.

Bandwidth: This is the measurement of the data that can transfer from or to your computer per second. It is measured in kilobits per second (kbits) or megabits per second (mbit). For the purposes of internet advertised speeds 1000 kbits =  1 mbit. This is especially confusing because your computer stores information in megabytes (MB)  and kilobytes (KB). To convert the measurement, divide the kilobits or megabits by 8 to get the kilobytes or megabytes.

Broadband: This is the minimum speed at which your connection will transfer information. The minimum to be called broadband in the United States is 256 kbits per second, (or 0.25 megabit per second) but this speed is generally considered pretty slow. Most Internet providers start around 768 kbit and go up to 30 or 40 mbits.