Bandwidth is your company’s capacity to pass data such as text, images, email, video, video conferencing, VoIP and much more over a network connection in a given amount of time. It’s usually expressed in bits or megabits per second (Mbps). Bandwidth is often mistaken for Internet speed, when it’s actually the volume of data that can be sent over a connection measured over time.

Generally speaking, the higher the bandwidth, the more quickly computers can download information from the Internet. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines Internet speeds as connections with a bandwidth of 25 Mbps for downloads and three Mbps for uploads. Providers state the bandwidth measurement to customers, although the number quoted may not always reflect what a customer actually gets because bandwidth is shared among many ISP customers. Your bandwidth can have “Quality of Service” applied to certain critical protocols such as VoIP for example. This reserves bandwidth for this service to ensure quality voice communications over IP networks.

Source: Investopedia

Additional Reading: What’s After 5G?

Related Terms: Packet Sniffing, Quality of Service, Wireshark

What does this mean for an SMB?

SMB Owners and staff in an office will always notice (and complain) whenever the network connection slows down. SMBs need to plan their bandwidth needs appropriately.  This means considering redundant Internet connections from separate ISP carriers.  If one ISP has an outage, your business can automatically switch over to the other ISP in real-time and your users might not even notice.  It also means you should be setting Quality of Service on your Internet traffic.  If your company uses Voice over IP (VoIP) that traffic should be prioritized over web traffic.  Similarly for Video Conferencing protocols (H.323).
If problems occur on your network, you Network Engineers or IT provided should be able to perform network analysis with programs like Wireshark. This tool can be used to identify critical bandwidth problems, poor application performance issues, and the root cause of many networking issues.

To learn more about Bandwidth, watch this short 2 minute video:

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