Do you know how much data are consuming per day? Identify your monthly usage and choose your plan accordingly. Know about the fair usage policy and the restrictions beyond that. Bandwidth and speed: What do they mean? Are they the same or do they mean different things? Internet providers use these words interchangeably. The fact of the matter is that though they are similar and share several common factors, there is a subtle difference between the two. Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over an Internet connection, as measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). Speed is the rate at which data can be downloaded (or uploaded) to a given device using that Internet connection, it is also measured in Megabits per second. What does Mbps mean? Megabits per second are the most common method of measuring the internet speed on the market. How much bandwidth is enough? The amount of speed or bandwidth needed depends on the number of users, the usage, etc. If you have an idea about your users and the usage then there are many bandwidth calculators that you can use to estimate your bandwidth needs. Most people do not know what internet speed is. They have no idea how it works and why it costs more when the speed is claimed to be high. All ISPs sell their wares highlighting the internet speed. What is internet speed? Internet speed whatever the number given by the ISP is has no connection with how fast the internet is. It is nothing like the speed of a car or any other vehicle showing how fast it can go. It is the bandwidth allocated to you. It is the amount of data you can send in one second. Working of Bandwidth: The bandwidth and internet speed can be explained with the help of a highway. Imagine the bandwidth is a highway with all cars moving at the same speed. As all the cars are moving at the same speed, the only way to increase the amount of data being sent is for the highway to be made broader. The confusing factor here is that 1 Mbps and 5 Mbps has the same internet speed. It is just that more data can be moved in the 5 Mbps bandwidth than the 1 Mbps bandwidth. Difference between upload and download speeds. Most users download more data than upload. So usually download speeds are more than upload speeds. Download speed determines how fast your internet connect transfers data from a server to you. Upload speed determines how fast your internet connection can transfer your data to a server. Factors affecting internet speeds. 1. Connection type: Dialups and DSLs are limited and cannot be made much faster than they already are. 2. Traffic congestion: More traffic on the highway (bandwidth} the slower they move. During peak hours the net will be slower. 3. Quality of equipment: Old and poor-quality wires, etc, cause the bandwidth to be decreased so does old and faulty equipment. 4. Distance from ISP hub: The further you are from the ISP, the slower you net will be. What internet speed do you need? To get an idea about internet speed needs, please see the below examples. 1. To stream videos in standard definition, at least 3-4 Mbps is recommended. 2. To stream videos in HD, at least 5-8 Mbps is recommended. 3. To stream videos in HDR or 4K, at least 25 Mbps is recommended. 4. Gaming requires a minimum of 1-3 Mbps. 5. Email and other basic computer programs require 1 Mbps. (Work from home) 6. Skype calls and other net intensive programs 1-4 Mbps. No matter what you use the internet for at home, we recommend getting slightly faster speeds than Netflix, Skype, online shopping or any other activity requires. Internet speeds often perform slower at home than advertised. Having multiple devices at home will eat up bandwidth, and a variety of technical factors can also slow down your connection. It is always better to go for a faster internet especially for home as the speeds for home users rarely match the promised levels. Having multiple devices connected to the net will eat up bandwidth. Keep in mind that the internet speed that you signed up for might not be the speed you get. Finding the bandwidth, what do you need? If you are in a city, you will be spoiled for a choice. You can go for optic fibres, DSL, or Cable modem. If you are in a rural or urban area, you might have satellite internet and/or dial-up. The more Mbps you have, the faster and smoother your internet speed will be. A good internet provides you with a smooth and constant experience which is really what counts. Depending upon your needs, you have a choice of internet speeds of as fast as 1000 Mbps and as slow as 1 Mbps. It all depends on what the ISP provides and how much you can afford to spend on internet services. People often think that slow internet is solely related to poor service from their internet provider. However, improper computer settings, ageing equipment, overload on the connection, all have been shown to affect internet speed. So do check out the following things before raising a complaint to the ISP. 1. First, test your broadband speed and note it down. 2. Secure your WiFi. This ensures that no one else is using your internet connection. 3. Move your router. Ideally, it should be set up high, on a shelf top or mounted on a wall. 4. Clean up your computer. Shut down all applications that you are not using when you do not need them. Check for malware or viruses. Regularly clear browser history. 5. Try wired connection as a short-term solution by plugging in a cable from your router to your computer. 6. If you find that after all the above steps your internet is still slow, talk to your ISP. 7. If none of the above work, you can look at alternative internet providers. 8. You can look at different types of internet services like optic fibres, cable modems, etc depending on what is good in your area. Always keep in mind that you need to have a good antivirus and malware protection software whenever you are accessing the internet.