“How much bandwidth do I need?” Well, before we get into the how’s, let’s first consider the what’s about it.
Bandwidth VS Speed
Many users mix up the definition of bandwidth with the definition of speed. So, it is important to note that they are not the same.
Internet bandwidth determines how much information is transmitted, so it is more about the volume within a certain amount of time. Internet speed determines how fast that information is sent and is more about the velocity within that same given amount of time. Naturally, they both work together and affect each other. However, each still plays its own role.
So, what exactly is it?
Bandwidth determines how many bits per second of information can be passed through from one point to another. You can compare bandwidth to the highway. Imagine that you have a highway with two lanes versus a highway with four open lanes. Because the highway with four lanes is wider more cars can pass through it within the same amount of time. So, the broader your bandwidth, the more bits per second can “drive” through it. The broader your bandwidth, the more devices and users can be streaming online simultaneously without slowing down your internet speed.
How much do I need?
This will be based on what, how and when you will be using your internet. Will you be using it just to send simple emails, or will you also be using it for large file-sharing? Will you be streaming 4K videos or live streaming video-conference calls? How many users will be using the internet at the same given time? How many devices will be connected simultaneously? Will you be using internet when most of your neighbors will be online?
Here are a few tools that can help you determine your internet volume availability needs.:
- The Btel Bandwidth Calculator
- calculates estimated mbps needed based on expected users and devices per activity at the same time
- Encore Bandwidth Calculator
- a very basic calculator that gives you an estimated idea of your needs based on number of users
- The FCC Broadband Speed Guide
- shows you the minimum download speed needed for certain online activities
- Bandwidth Place
- a test that calculates your current download and upload speeds and ping time