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Does More Bandwidth Solve Everything?

Posted by Olivia Phan on Jun 6, 2018 9:38:00 AM

Close up of hand with laptop and media iconsThe term ‘bandwidth’ has become synonymous with the capacity we each have to juggle the different aspects of life. As viewed in one recent cartoon, “We’d love to start a family, but we’re going to wait until we have enough bandwidth.”  As with our internet connections, we believe if we just have enough, we can handle anything. But, does more bandwidth solve everything?

Bandwidth Explained

Bandwidth is indeed synonymous with ‘capacity’ in every sense of the word. It describes the capacity, or ability of a network communications link to transfer the maximum amount of data from one point to another in a given amount of time. Bandwidth concerns capacity; it is not a measure of network speed. Internet connections with larger bandwidth can move big sets of data, like video, faster than connections with low bandwidth. It is usually expressed in bits of data transferred per second (bps). A typical bandwidth speed is 50 Mbps or 50 million bits (megabits) of data per second.

A simple analogy is to compare data and bandwidth to water and a pipe. As the diameter of a pipe increases, so does the amount of water that can flow through it during a set period of time. Bandwidth works the same way; as bandwidth increases, so does the amount of data that can pass through in a given time.

Bandwidth Problems

The maximum capacity (bandwidth) of a network connection is only one factor that contributes to network performance. Problems like latency, packet loss, and jitter can seriously degrade network performance and make a high-capacity link slow and unreliable. From extreme end to extreme end, a network pathway consists of multiple network links. Each of these links can and often do have a different bandwidth capacity. The weakest link, the one with the lowest bandwidth, creates a bottleneck effect, slowing your overall data capacity.

Below are some common bottlenecks that cause connectivity issues:

  • Imperfect network design - If your local network is not designed to adequately handle the number of users or their common usage patterns, the result is slow data flow and constant waiting.
  • Old equipment - Using old equipment to run new programs that require more power and processing capacities can slow your performance.
  • Network security - Malware and viruses can use valuable resources in the background and slow performance.
  • Noisy neighbor syndrome - A cloud computing co-tenant can monopolize all the cloud resources and slow other users’ performance.
  • Old/low capacity cables in the network -  If the cables anywhere in your network are old and not up to current specifications for high-speed data transfer, they can cause considerable slowdowns in the system.
  • WAN capacity - The capacity of your local wireless network can slow performance if it is not capable of handling large sets of data or multiple users.
  • Human error - All it takes if for someone to pull a plug loose, cross the wrong wires or cables, or some other inadvertent error, and your system slows or crashes.

All these pain points and more can severely restrict your network performance, regardless of the rated bandwidth. You have control over some of these issues and can solve them, but others are beyond your control. Older equipment or lines throughout the terrestrial (hard line) network can cause you problems and they are out of your reach.

Point-to-Point Wireless Internet

A viable solution for terrestrial internet pain points is Fixed Wireless Internet. Fixed Wireless allows you to enjoy high-speed wireless internet service that delivers dedicated, robust bandwidth free of the common terrestrial network complications.

  • Fast installation (no trenching or stringing cables)
  • Scalable bandwidth
  • True path and network diversity
  • Easy Ethernet handoff
MHO is the first fixed-wireless company that is CE 2.0 MEF Certified. We use only carrier-class, full duplex radios with the latest in point-to-point wireless technology, all designed to keep your company up to speed. Contact us today to check availability in your area.

Topics: Bandwidth, Fixed Wireless, Business Internet