It’s better to understand something than to know it. With that in mind, we bring to you key concepts pertaining to the internet in simplified form:
1. Bandwidth or Speed:
Does the concept of internet speed vs bandwidth confuse you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Lots of people are confused. They don’t know what internet speed is, how it works and why they should pay extra for more of it. But it’s the biggest selling point for internet service providers, so the speed must be important… right?
The best way to explain (and understand) how bandwidth (and your internet speed) works is by using this Car analogy:
Bandwidth can be thought of as a freeway. All cars (as data) travel at the same speed, so to get traffic faster between any two places, the freeway needs to be wide enough. In other words, say 1 Mbps is equivalent to a 1 lane freeway.
Imagine that you are trying to download a 5 MB image.
With 1 Mbps (1 lane freeway) bandwidth: It would take you roughly 5 seconds to download the image.
With 5 Mbps (5 lane freeway) bandwidth: How fast will you receive your image? 1 second.
All of that said, there isn’t just one internet speed. However, real “internet speed” has to do with latency and that topic is outside the scope of this particular article.
2. Data Limit:
Too little data for considerable usage and too much data for meagre usage are conditions you definitely want to avoid.
Think of it as how many glasses of water are you allowed to have from your Water Tank? 1, 2 or unlimited.
Imagine that you are trying to download a 5MB image.
With a data limit of 10 MB: You can only download two images of 5Mb each.
Data is not limited to images but anything that you do over the Internet is some amount of data. Data limit is the maximum amount of data that you can Upload or Download over a specified period of time. Most data plans are capped much above possible usage limits nowadays, but still, they are not unlimited.
3. Internet Stability:
While speed is an important feature to be considered when picking a internet service provider (ISP), stability, too is equal if not more important.
A stable connection means you can surf, stream, play, upload and download without any problems. You can check email without delay or go to websites like YouTube and avoid unexpectedly long loading/processing/buffering saving times.
A stable connection can be equated to a smooth road without traffic. You can simply go where you want to and do what you want to without delays.
On the other hand, an unstable connection is like a broken road or a road with lots of traffic or maybe even a traffic jam on a broken highway in some of the more severe cases.
4. Internet Lease Line (ILL) & Broadband (BB):
As it can be inferred from the diagram above,
Internet Leased Line (ILL) or just Leased Line is a dedicated connection between your premises and the local exchange or the ISP. Bandwidth is fixed in this type of setup, and hence, you will enjoy constant/fixed/promised upload and download speed. Since this type of connection is not shared with anyone else, there is no chance of contention with respect to bandwidth.
On the other hand, broadband (BB) is not a dedicated connection with the local exchange or the ISP. The bandwidth you can expect is asymmetric - it is subjected to usage by other users and faster for downloads as compared to uploads.
For a better understanding, let’s take an analogy of a village well (Broadband) and a private tube-well (Leased Line).
In the first scenario:
In the case of a village well, there is lots of water available but it is shared by all the villagers living in the vicinity.
Hence the amount of water available to every individual is limited and how soon that water would be available is subject to how many villagers are using the well at the moment.
However, it is more than enough to supply your domestic needs as well as any small venture you wish to run locally, such as a café or restaurant. This is the case with a broadband connection.
In the second scenario:
Let’s say you are running a packaged drinking water company. Of course you cannot wait for the queue to clear up for filling up. You need constant and exclusive access to water. Thus, you decide to dig up and install a private tube well for the purpose.
Now it doesn’t matter how often and how much water you draw from it, you can be sure you have a 24x7 availability as you please.
This is the case with a leased line or Internet Leased Line also called ILL.
The Road Ahead:
Now that you have a basic understanding of the topics, we assume you are ready with most of the generic terms any Internet Service Provider (ISP) shall be using. Continue on to the next part- 5 points to keep in mind before choosing a good ISP- (Internet Service Provider).
Cheers and Happy Reading!