Everything you need to know about Bandwidth

Our in-depth guide looks at bandwidth and why it's important.
July 9, 2021

What is bandwidth?

Simply put, bandwidth is the amount of data you use when on the internet. When streaming, gaming, uploading or downloading files, you will be using bandwidth. Networks with higher bandwidths can transfer larger amounts of data much faster than a connection with lower bandwidth. Networks with less bandwidth may struggle to load large amounts of data.

Why is bandwidth important?

Bandwidth is a super important factor when looking at how fast a web page, game or movie will take to load. Usually, website’s with large images or videos will need more bandwidth. A simpler and less image-heavy website will need much less bandwidth. Higher bandwidth increases the user experience, making it flawless and easy to use. The more bandwidth you have, the smoother your gaming or streaming experience will be.

Knowing what bandwidth you have and ensuring that you have the right amount for your family can make for a happy home. You’ll want to make sure everyone has enough bandwidth to stream smoothly, game with no drop outs or work from home with no frozen video calls.

How to measure bandwidth 

The most common way of measuring bandwidth is in bits per second. The average UK broadband speed is 81Mbps. However, if you live in a rural area, your broadband speed is likely to be considerably lower, hovering at around 54Mbps.

With working from home being the new norm, it’s common for more households to rely on better broadband and more bandwidth to be able to transfer bigger files and allow multiple devices to connect to the internet at the same time.

Those living in rural areas tend to struggle with access to capable broadband connections that support their needs. Thanks to Truespeed building ultrafast broadband, more rural communities can now access better broadband and hugely exceed the expected 54Mbps. With Truespeed, you could get 900Mbps, even in a rural area. Giving you the ultimate speeds and capabilities for multi-device usage simultaneously.

There are two types of full-fibre broadband, FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) and FTTP (fibre to the premises). FTTC broadband uses fibre optic cables to connect to the exchange, the fibre optic cable is then split using copper wires and stretched to multiple properties. FTTP on the other hand is full fibre broadband that uses fibre optic cables from the exchange to your property. Giving you your own dedicated connection. With Truespeed’s FTTP connection, we give you a contention ratio of 1:1, meaning you won’t be sharing your network with your neighbours.

Bandwidth vs Speed

Bandwidth and speed are not the same thing. Bandwidth refers to how much data can be uploaded or downloaded from a device whilst speed refers to how fast the data can be uploaded or downloaded on your device.

What bandwidth do you need?

How much bandwidth you need will totally depend on your needs and what you intend on doing with your internet connection. The more bandwidth you have, the better your experience will be.

When looking for a package suitable for your household and enough bandwidth to share, it’s worth taking note of what everyone’s internet needs are. If you have a few people in your home that want to stream, game or work from home then you are going to need more bandwidth. If your property only has one or two people who check social media or lightly browse the internet then a package with smaller bandwidth should be adequate.

Can bandwidth be increased?

If you’re experiencing slow bandwidth, it’s likely due to loading large data packets for long time periods. The best way to increase your bandwidth is upgrading your connection speed. If this isn’t an option at the moment there are a few things you could try. Whilst there is no quick fix that works for everyone trying to increase bandwidth, it’s worth giving the following tricks a go to see if they will increase your bandwidth.

  1. Wired connection: Whilst a wire connection isn’t always convenient, using an ethernet cable is a super reliable way to get the best bandwidth you can. Wi-Fi is great when you’re on the move but it doesn’t always give the most stable connection.
  1. Router location: The distance between your device and the router can affect your bandwidth. Moving closer to the router can give you higher bandwidth. Take a look at our guide that gives you all the best tips for router location and Wi-Fi maximisation.
  1. Wi-Fi extender: A Wi-Fi extender service will help boost your bandwidth and will spread it around your property to areas that struggle to get a good signal.
  1. Switch to Airplane mode: Whilst this may not be an option if you live with a number of people, switching devices to Airplane mode can help.

Will bandwidth affect ping?

Ping (also known as latency) refers to the amount of time it takes for data to be sent out and back again. Ping can cause lagging issues during gaming, buffering in streaming or problems when downloading big files. Having slow bandwidth can affect ping. If there are any other people in your house connected to the internet, their online activity can affect your ping. The same applies with anything you might be doing, could be affecting their ping.

Hopefully, you’ll now understand more about bandwidth and why it’s important. Before scooping up the latest broadband deal, make sure it has enough bandwidth to support your households’ online needs.

To switch to ultrafast, full-fibre broadband that won’t let you down switch to Truespeed today.