Insights from the Sales Desk – bandwidth vs. speed

She Bought a Clock on Hollywood Boulevard
Thomas Hawk / / CC BY-NC

I know we all do it without thinking, but let’s stop talking about bandwidth as being “faster” or “slower.” In reality, the packets you are sending go at the same speed no matter what you are using for a last mile broadband connection. The user experience may feel faster or slower depending on your Internet service connection, but that is truly a user experience and has nothing to do with how fast the packets can or do travel.

The best way to consider why a particular broadband connection feels faster than another connection is to use the analogy of a freeway. If the freeway has two lanes in each direction, then imagine that on your side of the freeway there are two lanes of 25 cars each. They are as bumper-to-bumper as can be, and they are all going 100 miles per hour – looks a lot like a NASCAR race. In order to reach the destination, all 50 cars in both lanes have to pass the finish line, which will take longer for the last cars to pass the finish line as compared to the first cars.

Now imagine that your freeway is 50 lanes wide in each direction, and all the cars can line up abreast. They will ALL reach the finish line at exactly the same time, with no delay for the cars in the back, as there are none.

For a faster broadband Internet experience, you simply need to assure that your last mile connection can adequately handle the maximum amount of data you can sustain over a reasonable period of time. If you are maxing out the bandwidth for just a few seconds here and there, your user experience will feel fast. If you are maxing out the bandwidth throughout the day, your user experience will feel slow and you are probably suffering the additional delay of latency, packet loss, and application time outs.

So remember, if your user experience feels slow, go broader. Learn more about broadband services for business.