Bandwidth vs Speed

One of my friend was having a difficult time understanding these 2 terms and was interchangeably using the words speed and bandwidth to mean the same thing where in fact speed and bandwidth are 2 different things.

So I decided to write this post and make things clear :)

Bandwidth IS NOT Speed
Speed is generally used by consumers to refer to how fast they can download files and upload files. 
Bandwidth Broadband Internet packages are sold based on their bandwidth, or the size of the "Internet pipe" that is allocated to each user. This number refers to the capacity of the "last mile" connection that connects your home to the nearest aggregation point. In other words, it is the maximum throughput that the user can get on his broadband service.

Does higher bandwidth give you faster speed?

The analogy of driving on the motorway will help you to understand bandwidth and speed.





Imagine that you're driving on a road with 4 lanes in a car that can go at a maximum of 300km/hr
No matter the amount of lanes on the road, your car can only go at a maximum of 300km/hr and no faster. However, this same road with four lanes comes in handy when your family members having their own cars share the same road and reach the same destination at a shorter time as opposed to having a single lane road where they will have to queue up. 
Likewise for our broadband service, with a higher bandwidth you can actually do more at the same time or share the connection with your family members using a bigger pipe.

Higher BANDWIDTH does not necessarily mean higher SPEED

In general, getting a broadband service with higher bandwidth will often mean better surfing speeds as you are increasing the size of your pipe. 
But if the limitation is at the end device, then having a higher bandwidth does not increase your surfing speed. 
By the same analogy, if you are sharing your broadband connection among multiple users in your home, it is more important to get a connection with a higher bandwidth to ensure each individual user gets enough bandwidth for their needs.
To get a list of factors affecting speed check this nice page


REFERENCE
Contents of this post have been adapted from www.starhub.com. The original webpage is available at <http://www.starhub.com/personal/support/broadband/home-broadband/broadband-101/bandwidth-vs-speed.html>

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