Are you familiar with the terms bandwidth and latency? If not, that’s okay – you’re not alone! Both terms are related to your internet’s ability to send and receive data, but despite their similarities, they refer to two different concepts.
Bandwidth is a word that is thrown around a lot when discussing internet function. Many people assume it means internet speed, but that’s not exactly true. Bandwidth is essentially how much data can move from network point A to point B in a given amount of time.
Think of your bandwidth as a high-speed highway with three lanes. When an average number of cars are on the highway, everything is going smoothly, and the cars are moving at a good clip. But when it’s rush hour – that is, you’re trying to download something with more data than your bandwidth can handle – the highway gets congested. The traffic bottlenecks, and it slows to a crawl.
On the other hand, latency refers to the amount of time it takes for the signal to get from point A to point B and then travel back again. The lower the latency, the better your internet will be because it means there’s less time between when you take your action and when you see the result.
For instance, think about when you do a Google search. If you have low latency, the search engine will return your answer within milliseconds. But if you have higher latency, you might end up waiting a few seconds – or even longer – while the internet retrieves your data. The search you sent is traveling. You have to wait until it reaches the server, collects what you need and makes its way back to you.
How Bandwidth and Latency Affect You
Both bandwidth and latency can affect the speed of your internet but in different ways. If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably experienced lag, which is when it takes a few moments for an action you performed to manifest in a game. This is a latency issue, as most of the assets you need to game are already loaded onto your computer. Therefore, very little bandwidth is needed. Conversely, if you’re trying to stream a show online but it buffers or appears grainy and broken, that’s likely an example of low bandwidth. All that content has to squeeze its way down the digital superhighway.
Both bandwidth and latency issues can be a result of subpar internet service. If you want the best internet experience, invest in an affordable, high-speed fiber connection from Chariton Valley! Contact us today or visit www.cvalley.net/fiber to see if you’re in an in-service or in-construction community and to sign up for service!