Ever heard of bandwidth? It indicates the maximum amount of data that can travel on an Internet connection in a given period of time. Bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps), although it is usually more common to use multiples, such as Kbps, or Mbps. Bandwidth, conceptually, is different from the speed at which packets travel, but it is closely related to it.
A good analogy for understanding the concepts of speed and bandwidth is comparing an Internet connection to a road. Imagine that this road has two lanes, and a maximum speed of 100 km/h. In a situation where few cars are driving, you can maintain maximum speed. But what happens when there are more cars? Generally, the average speed of vehicles decreases, taking them longer to reach their destination, and there may even be traffic. If the road had a greater number of lanes, or if the maximum allowed speed was a little higher, more vehicles could travel simultaneously without any problems.
In this analogy, cars are the data packets traveling on the Internet. The two lanes of the road, together with the allowed speed, represent the bandwidth.
In general, an Internet plan specifies the available bandwidth. However, bandwidth is sometimes called speed, for simplicity purposes, although technically it is not the most accurate expression.
There are some measures that users can apply to improve the performance of the applications used and better use their available bandwidth, especially if they are noticing slowness. Among them, we can mention:
• Use wired connection that is more stable and suffers less interference;
• When using a Wi-Fi connection, ensure that the router is not suffering interference from other networks or electronic equipment;
• Close other applications that may be consuming bandwidth, such as torrents and streams, and ask other users who use that same connection to do the same;
• Reduce the number of devices, it may solve the problem;
• Ensure that the router and cables used are compatible with the hired Internet plan and that the router supports the amount of connected equipment.
In the first scene, two lanes with cars passing slowly are shown; on the right side, a sign indicates the maximum speed of 100 km/h. Above the phrase “Sometimes, traffic does not flow at full speed,” which changes to “The number of lanes limits the number of cars.”
In the second scene, three people are using the Internet: a woman sitting with a laptop, a young man with a tablet, and another woman with a cell phone. Their pieces of equipment are connected to lanes, which connect to a rotating globe, representing the Internet. Trucks carrying packages pass from the devices to the globe, representing packets flow. The phrase “The Internet is just like this. Bandwidth limits the number of packets” is shown. The number of trucks increases, and balloons indicate the sound of horns. People get mad.
In the third scene, the phrase changes to “Reducing the number of devices may solve the problem,” the woman with the cell phone and the young man with the tablet say goodbye and disappear from the screen. The speed of the trucks increases, and the woman using the laptop continues to work happily.
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