What is Bandwidth? How Does it Determine Download Speed?

Many a times we hear the word bandwidth and some of us keep wondering that what bandwidth is really. How does it determine our internet speed? Why do many hosting companies provide many bandwidth options In their plans?

What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth can be defined as how much data capacity a particular network segment has to offer or in a layman’s language, it is a data transmission rate; the maximum amount of information (bits/second) that can be transmitted along a channel. Bandwidth determines the amount of data exchange that can take place between your computer and internet.

Bandwidth Distribution System

Think of roads as bandwidth and users traffic as vehicles. If there are more vehicles and fewer roads then the speed of vehicles will be slow. But if there is only one vehicle on the roads then their speed will be very fast. So if there are many users surfing the internet, then each will get a piece of the bandwidth and so your surfing speed will be slow. Even if many people are downloading a same file, download speed will drop to a certain extent.

If you ever wondered that why does sometime your downloads take very much time to complete, it is all about Bandwidth. As the bandwidth increases, so does the amount of data that can flow through in a given amount of time, increases. An Internet connection with a large bandwidth, like a t1 internet connection, can move a large data (say, a video file) much faster than an Internet connection with a lower bandwidth.

Often a term called bandwidth bottleneck  is used in computing language. A real communications path usually consists of a succession of links, each with its own bandwidth. If one of these is much slower than the rest, it is said to be a bandwidth bottleneck.

Bandwidth Bottleneck

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One thought on “What is Bandwidth? How Does it Determine Download Speed?

  • December 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm


    Thanks for the article.I hope it will help me in preparing my seminar.


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