A question we get a lot, and you may have been asking yourself, is “What’s the difference between Broadband and Bandwidth?”. The terminology used in Internet/WiFi discussions can be difficult to differentiate. No worries! The “technobabble” you have heard is common knowledge in the industry, however, to the rest of the world it sounds like gibberish. Below are the best descriptions of commonly used words regarding Internet/ WiFi we have found:
Bandwidth: This refers to speed of your internet or, more specifically, the amount of data that can be transferred to or from your computer in a specific amount of time. The amount of data is measured in kilobits per second (kbps) or megabits per second (mbps). This is extremely important because it’s the first thing people notice when using your network.Common internet speeds for Australia are between 10-24 Mbps for download and between 0.5-3 Mbps for upload with ADSL 2+. If you’re lucky and you have access to the NBN you can see downloads up in the 90 Mbps and uploads as high as 30 mbps! Is your internet connection fast? Or is it slow? A great way to find out your Bandwidth is by doing a Speed Test (see right) at: www.speedtest.net. This will show you your Upload/Download speeds. What are these and why do I care? Great questions and they are explained below.
Upload/Download: Once you have completed Speed Test (see above), you will notice that your download is higher than your upload. This is normal and if this isn’t the case contact your Internet Service Provider immediately because you have an issue! The reason for this difference comes from the fact that “Upload” refers to the requests you send. Meaning, when you use Google to search, or enter a URL address and hit enter, you are sending a request for a certain website to appear on your screen (say www.Liveport.com.au). In layman’s terms, you are “uploading” your request for a specific website to appear on your screen. This request is very small and requires very little data to be transferred from one place to the next because you’ve only sent a few words. Think of a Smart car on a 5 lane highway, heaps of room! On the flip side, for your device to display (or download) the website you requested, much more data must be transmitted because the website will be composed of pictures, videos and heaps of data. More like a Transport Truck on the same road.
For example, TechTarget breaks down different applications requiring different bandwidths. An instant messaging conversation (MSN, iMessage) might take less than 1,000 bits per second (bps); a standard definition video (480p) works at 1 megabit per second (Mbps), but HD video (720p) wants around 4 Mbps, and HDX (1080p), more than 7 Mbps (Netflix). Knowing these requirements for certain applications shows you how quickly your network can become strained. If your hotel has 100 rooms and your download speed is only 7 mbps, that means one guest watching HD Netflix will be utilising the majority of your network! A great way to find out how much bandwidth you need is by utilising the formula below:
Minimum Bandwidth Required = Room Count (X) Online Guest Ration (X) Bandwidth Per Guest
So, for a 100 room property with 1 in 10 guests actively online, you’d need a minimum 20Mbps down (100 rooms x 1/10 active guests x 2Mbps) and 3Mbps up (100 rooms x 1/10 active guests x 0.3Mbps).
Broadband: When people talk about “Broadband” they are really talking about the ability of your Internet Service Provider to transmit data (the internet) to, and from, you. Think of this as simply a highway with cars on it. The wider the highway, the more cars that can travel on it. On the other hand, if you have 100 cars trying to go down a one lane road (similar to 100 guests using a single internet connection at a hotel) you will have a bottleneck, causing everyone to slow down (or have slow internet speeds).
We hope these descriptions have helped you understand more about internet terminology! If you have any questions or concerns flip over to the “Contact us page” and send us a note! We’d love to hear from you!