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What does bandwidth mean, and how much do I need?


Do you want to know how much bandwidth you need? There are many factors that will determine the optimal amount of bandwidth for any specific site. Every website is different, and there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to determining the perfect internet speed for loading these sites.

There are some tools that can help you figure out what kind of broadband plan would work best for your business or personal use, but before you get started with those, make sure to read this article on what exactly bandwidth is and how much you will need. It will help you figure out the needs of your website or service, and make it easier to tell what kind of broadband plan would work best for you.

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth is a measurement that describes how much data can be transferred in a given period of time, usually expressed as bits per second (bps) or bytes/seconds.

Bandwidth is usually used to measure the internet speed of any particular website or service, and help users determine what kind of broadband plan would work best for them. 

To make an analogy, think of it as how much water a bucket can carry at a time, or how many people are able to pass buckets between each other. The more people you have passing water from one place to another (or the bigger the buckets they're using), the faster you'll be able to transport water. This is what bandwidth is all about: larger amounts of data being passed more quickly than smaller amounts.

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One way this is typically measured is by looking at bits traveling over a wire for some length of time and doing some math to determine what percentage of these bits were ones and zeros: if there are more ones, it's faster.

Bandwidth is important because it determines how quickly you will be able to access websites, download files, and watch videos online. If your bandwidth is too low, sites will load slowly or not at all.

How much bandwidth do I need?

When determining how much bandwidth you need, there are a number of factors that you should consider. These include the number of people using your internet connection at one time, the type of internet service provider (ISP) you have, and the kind of content you want to access.

This question is difficult to answer in a single sentence because every website will have different bandwidth needs. However, some benchmark numbers can give you a general idea of the amount of bandwidth that you will need. For example, an average webpage requires about 1 Mb/s to function properly, while video streaming services require much more, sometimes up to 25-30 Mb/s.

Given these numbers, you can get a general idea of what kind of broadband plan would work best for your website.

The amount of required bandwidth for an individual is different than for an office or home network. If you are watching videos on your computer while trying to send emails, download files, or browse the internet you will use up more bandwidth than someone who is only watching films online.

If you're not sure how much bandwidth your internet connection has, there are tools that can analyze your current usage and provide recommendations for what network speed you should upgrade to.

If you've determined how much bandwidth you need, there are a few things to look out for. For instance, internet service providers may cap your usage and charge you extra money if you go over the limit for your network bandwidth. This is called bandwidth throttling, and could you cost you more in fees, than simply upgrading your deal to meet your higher bandwidth requirements. 

Tips on how to get started with a broadband plan that will work best for you and your needs 

  • Tip 1: Gauge Your Needs 

A broadband plan that is more expensive may not be the best fit for you if your needs are simple. So before you go out and buy a more expensive plan, figure out what your needs are and whether they can be met by a lower-priced plan and network connection aimed at lighter or regular usage. For instance if you are gamer, you might need higher speeds than just an average user.

  • Tip 2: Check Your Area's Availability

You should also check to see which types of broadband are available in your area or town before signing up for a service. For example if a fibre connection is not possible in your area, you may be limited to choose from other connections with possibly lower bandwidth speeds. 

  • Tip 3: Read the Fine Print

Before signing up for any particular plan, read through all of the fine print. You don't want to sign up for a plan only to find out later on that it doesn't offer sufficient bandwidth capacity required for your needs. Many providers throttle available speeds on your wireless network during times of high demand. Therefore, make sure you are aware of any limits on your download and upload capacity before signing up to a new contract! 


Bandwidth refers to how much data is a transmitted over an internet connection. To find out your bandwidth requirements, you will need to evaluate your usage habits, including if there are any particular websites that might requirer higher bandwidth speed. Other things to consider would to think about whether you plan on using multiple devices using the same connection, consider the cost you are able and willing to spend on a deal, and whether your area is likely to experience high network congestion. Finally, don't forget to read the fine print of any contract to find out exactly what data capacity is available to you. 

Once you've considered all this you are ready to switch to a better deal!

For more information you can read up on OFCOM's broadband speed research on their website.

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