The Beginner’s Guide to Your Internet Speed

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Who in This Modern World is Not Familiar With The Internet?

But how well do you know about it? Such a thought would have never crossed my mind but thanks to my friend, now I have gone through a dozen articles on the internet, the various speeds that it is offered in and what these speeds mean. I made a  call to Spectrum customer service to upgrade my Spectrum bundles while my friend was visiting me. Since she is a Computer Science student she couldn’t help but ask me about what I knew about the internet.

My dumb response gave her an opportunity to educate me. So, here’s what I learned…

Broadband Types

The broadband decides the speed and the bandwidth of the internet connection. The five types of broadband are:

  • DSL
  • Cable
  • Satellite
  • Wireless
  • Fiber

DSL connection is the traditional type that can be purchased through the telephone company whose services you are availing. The data in this type of broadband is transmitted over the copper lines that are connected to your telephone. Cable broadband, on the other hand, is transmitted over the coaxial cables. For those of you who do not know, coaxial cable is the same line that enables you to watch shows on your televisions. These cables have an advantage over the telephone lines in terms of speed loss (less in this case) and speed of data delivery (two times faster in this case).

Satellite broadband is the most basic type of connection. As the name suggests, signals are sent to a satellite in orbit that bounces it back to the Internet provider’s hub (that is on the Earth, of course). It is most suitable be provide internet services in remote areas. Moving on, the fiber broadband is dubbed as the next big thing in the world of internet. The information, in this particular type, is transmitted over optic fiber lines. These lines are tested in labs to have achieved speeds of up to 100 petabits per second. While I don’t exactly know what that means, but Makena stressed over this figure a lot while saying it. Hence, I am assuming it’s VERY fast.

Anyhow, I was in the process of registering this whole information in my mind, when Makena introduced me to another concept.

Connection Types

The types of connections through which we can connect the internet to the devices at our homes/offices fall in the following categories:

  • Wi-Fi
  • LAN
  • Power-line Network

While we all are familiar with what Wi-Fi is (don’t tell me you are not), I will still explain it to you. Wi-Fi implies that you are connecting the router to the other devices in your house/office to connect them to the internet wirelessly. On the other hand, LAN is a wired connection and so is power-line network that connects the devices to the internet through an electrical cable (that you have available in your house).

Abbreviations? Who That?

Makena then introduced me to a couple of abbreviations and what their meanings in the world of Internet speeds. She named the following:

  • kbps
  • mbps
  • MBps
  • gbps

These abbreviations have always confused me and I have always failed to understand what they stood for. Apparently, these abbreviations stand for the amount of data that is being transmitted in one second. So here it goes:

  • kbps means kilobits per second
  • mbps means megabits per second
  • MBps means Megabytes per second
  • Gbps means gigabits per second

She further got into all this mathematical stuff of how to calculate bandwidth and stuff, but I stopped her there and then. My brain is incapable to process Math, for some odd reason.

Anyhow, that did not stop Makena from transmitting her knowledge to me and she started discussing another topic with me.

Factors That Affect Internet Speed

According to Makena, the following factors affect the speed at which the internet operates in our houses:

  • Connection type
  • Traffic congestion
  • Wires/equipment
  • Distance

I have discussed the connection types and the speed/capability of each to transmit information earlier in the article, so don’t ask me to revise it again. However, I can educate you about the rest of the factors. Traffic congestion is pretty self-explanatory itself, though. But I will throw some light on it for you guys.  More the data is being exchanged (sent or received), more the bandwidth is being used. Hence, that would lead to congestion, slowing the internet speed.

Moving on, the wires and the equipment play a vital role in deciding the speed as well. Old wires and outdated equipment can slow down the internet speed. Lastly, the distance. The farther away you are from the hub, the slower the speed of the internet for you.

I am pretty sure your brain has exhausted by this time. Hence, I have decided to not share any more information as of now. However, I have very comprehensively put the main points here. It is now time for me to call Spectrum Customer Support service, as the representatives were busy the last time I called them. If I don’t upgrade my service, I am afraid I won’t be able to post that often and stay in touch with you guys. As I don’t want that to happen, I would now sign off.

Talk to ya all in the next blog!

 

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