What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth is a term describing the speed at which data can be transferred from one place to another. A high bandwidth communication link can transfer data very fast whereas a low bandwidth communication link can only transfer data slowly.

There are many factors that effect bandwidth: the physical nature of the communication link itself, the number of people sharing the link and capacity limitations imposed by the owner. For example, many broadband or DSL suppliers restrict individual bandwidth in order to make sure that everyone has some capacity and to stop individuals hogging all the available capacity at one time by sending enormous data files.

Bandwidth is also used to represent concentration power or attention too. People talk of not having enough bandwidth to deal with a particular matter which really means they are just too busy – or not interested enough.

Bandwidth across the internet has been increasing fast in the 21st Century as more and more people get internet access via Broadband. Indeed the phrase broadband really refers to having a broad, or wide, bandwidth and thus a fast means of receiving and sending data over the internet.

As high bandwidth usage increases with the uptake of online video, a service that requires vast amounts of data transfer, it will become commonplace for people to have high and very high bandwidth internet access.

Bandwidth is also a battle ground for mobile users and operators: the rapid uptake of high end mobile devices is placing huge bandwidth demands on mobile operators who are in the process of migrating services from 3g to 4g in order to be able to deliver fast, content-rich web-based services to their customer base.