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A Quick Guide to Broadband Speed

ByDave Stopher

Oct 2, 2018

You’re shopping around for a broadband deal, and those strange words and phrases keep popping up. “Download speed” and “ping” and “megabytes”… or was it “megabits“? In fact, these terms are all simple to understand, and once you’re clued up it should make your broadband speed a bit clearer. Christian Cawley from Broadband Genie, busts some broadband jargon below:

What’s the Difference Between Megabits & Megabytes?

The first thing to clear up is the mystery of megabits and megabytes.

In simple terms, a megabit (Mb) is a measure of speed (such as megabits per second), while a megabyte is a unit of storage.

As a result, internet speed is measured in Mbps, although kilobits per second and gigabits per second might also be seen, as Kbps and Gbps.

Meanwhile, the term “megabytes” is rarely used these days, as data storage reaches far greater capacities. Instead, you’re more likely to come across gigabytes (Gb) and terabytes (Tb) of data. For instance, if you play console games and buy from the online store, the download will typically run into several gigabytes of data.

For this to be practical, your internet download speed needs to be a high measurement in Mbps.

Broadband Download Speed

You know that broadband speed is measured in Mbps, but how do you know what is fast, and what is no so fast?

Easy! The higher the download speed, the faster. Anything above 4Mbps should provide you with adequate internet, although you’ll need over 20Mbps to enjoy streaming video. Try running an online internet speed test to determine how fast your internet connection is.

Understanding Upload Speed

For every piece of downloaded data, there must be something uploaded. This might be an initial request, or simple confirmation that data (sent in “packets”) has been received.

Upload speed, while always lower than download speed, can be measured in the same way. The higher, the faster, and there are times when a high upload speed is important. For instance, if you want to upload movies to Facebook or YouTube, faster uploading will save time. It’s also useful for streaming your gaming sessions.

What Is a Ping?

Essentially, this is the time it takes for a computer to respond to a request from another machine. It’s used to test whether a website, server, or some other device, is connected to the internet, or local network.

Ping is usually included in operating systems as a command line tool, so if you need to check connectivity, you can use this. You can also ping an IP address from a website, although this will only give you the results between the two websites.

Broadband Speed: Understood!

The difference between megabits per second and megabytes has long been a problem for many. Remembering that one is a measurement of speed, and the other is used for storage, should help you.

Having been unsure about broadband upload speed, it should now be clear that it’s more important than you thought.

If you’ve been struggling with your broadband speed, it could be time for an upgrade. Check out Broadband Genie’s fibre deals to find a faster package