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The Never-Ending Loading Screen: What Is Internet Bandwidth?

Odds are that you're doing a lot of work from home these days. If not, you're probably spending a good deal of time at home after hours. Either way, we're using a lot more of the internet than we might have before the pandemic.

What is Internet Bandwidth

You're running your laptop, one of your kids is gaming on the desktop, and the rest of your family is streaming movies around the clock. When bedtime comes, you're all streaming different movies in different rooms of the house.

When all of those worlds collide, you might find that you're getting a few more loading screens than you once did.

The key thing to think about in terms of your internet speed is something called bandwidth. But what is bandwidth and why does it matter?

We're going to answer those questions today, hopefully leading you toward some ideas that will speed up your connection.

What is Internet Bandwidth?

Bandwidth is essentially the amount of information that can be sent through your connection in a specific amount of time. Lower bandwidths operate better when there's not very much going on with your internet network, while higher bandwidths can accommodate a lot more activity.

This is why you find that there's a slower connection when there are numerous people using their devices in your household. A gaming console connected to the internet added to the music you happen to be downloading might be too much for your connection to handle.

Let's think of bandwidth in terms of traffic.

A Bandwidth Jam

Imagine pieces of information running through your server as cars and your internet connection as a highway.

The number of lanes that exist on the highway will dictate how much freedom the cars have to move quickly. When there are only one or two lanes for a number of cars to travel on, they're all going to slow down as a result.

Highway Traffic

Some cars are merging, others are going a little slower than the speed limit, and you wind up with a line of slowly-moving, frustrated drivers. A single lane is great for a car or two to travel down at whatever speed they like, but things get jammed up when you insert a few more cars into the equation.

Adding a lane or two, though, allows cars of any speed to travel down the highway without being interrupted by the rest of the traffic. Similarly, adding bandwidth to your connection gives the information more space to flow freely without disturbances.

Speed and Bandwidth

While there is a close connection between bandwidth and internet speed, but they're not exactly the same thing.

In a perfect world, your internet connection will be speedy and allow information to travel as quickly as you'd like it to. If you have enough bandwidth to accommodate all of the information you're engaging with online, you won't have any issues with speed or loading times.

That said, it's possible to have enough bandwidth with a poor connection that impacts the speed. There are a number of factors that impact your internet speed that don't relate to your bandwidth at all.

For example, the speed of your internet connection could be impacted by your proximity to different satellites or towers that your provider uses. It might also be affected by the type of service you have.

The cable connection might be better than a satellite connection in your area. If you live in a rural area, your bandwidth might more than cover the level of speed that your internet connection can offer.

Ways to Increase Your Internet Speed

The first thing to do is to get a good read on how well your connection stacks up. You can use an internet speed test to quickly find out where you stand in relation to the average.

Once you know where you're at, you can start troubleshooting modem or router issues within your own home that might be making a difference. Try to move your router into a spot that's away from walls and in line with the devices that you're going to be using.

Tucking a router and modem away in a closed closet, for example, will definitely harm the quality of your internet connection. You might also try placing wireless routers near windows in order to put them in closer contact with satellites and towers.

Next, look to your actual devices. Are you running any sort of continuous downloads that could be taking up your bandwidth? Look through your computer's active programs to see if there's anything running that you're not using or weren't aware of.

You'd be surprised at the amount of energy that certain unseen programs can be using, even if you don't use them at all. Next, try and delete your cookies from the search history. It's possible to delete all of your history and cookies while retaining the passwords and login information that you still need.

Another way to troubleshoot WiFi connectivity problems is to experiment with the different devices you might be using at once. Start with one device and monitor the speed, and progressively add devices to the network to see how your internet speed is impacted.

If you find that all of the devices working at once cause the connection to slow down significantly, it might be time to look for a new provider.

Options for Improvement

You can work with an internet company to get more bandwidth, higher-quality equipment, and a generally better connection.

Sometimes the state of things in your connection is the result of poor equipment, too many devices, and the wrong internet choice for the location of your home. We can help you fine-tune your situation to offer the highest speed internet possible.

Having Internet Trouble?

So, what is internet bandwidth? It's a huge piece of the digital puzzle, and you'll be much better off if you can find the right amount of bandwidth for you and your family.

We're here to help you get the whole situation sorted out. Contact us for more information on how to speed up your internet, wherever you are.

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