Internet Speed vs Bandwidth: What’s the difference between them?

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Are Internet speed and bandwidth the same thing? If they are not, then what is the difference between them? Check out this article “Internet bandwidth vs Internet speed: What’s the difference between them?” to get the answers to these questions and find out which one (internet speed or bandwidth) is more important for your internet experience.

In the digital era, the internet is considered indispensable for many of us. Speaking of the internet, terms like speed and bandwidth are what internet users and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) always use to talk about how fast a connection is, no matter whether it is wired or wireless. 

testing internet connection speed

Are Internet speed and bandwidth the same thing?

Well, when it comes to internet speed and bandwidth, questions like “Are Internet speed and bandwidth the same thing?” and “Is there any difference between internet bandwidth and internet bandwidth?” are so common, right? And yep, for the answers to these questions, well, it’s safe to say that internet speed and internet bandwidth are not the same things for sure and, of course, there are differences between them. Keep reading on to know how different they are and which one is more important for our internet experience. 

The bandwidth of an Internet connection, what it is?

Network bandwidth or internet bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transferred over an internet connection in a given time. Bandwidth is measured in Kilobits per second (Kbps), megabits per second (Mbps), or even Gigabits per second (Gbps). 

testing internet connection speed

Internet bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transferred over an internet connection in a given time

Bandwidth connections can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. While symmetrical connection means the data capacity is exactly the same in both directions of uploading and downloading, asymmetrical connection means the upload and download capacity aren’t equal. In most asymmetrical connections, download capacity is typically larger than upload capacity.

The term ‘bandwidth,’ in fact, is often mistaken for internet speed. A lot of us use these two terms interchangeably. Let’s move on to the next part of this writing to learn what internet speed is and then the differences between internet speed and internet bandwidth.

What is Internet speed?

Now, talking about the speed of an internet connection, well, it refers to the quickness of the data transfer. In other words, it shows how fast or how quickly data is pulled from the internet to the user's device (download speed) and pushed from the user's device to the Internet (upload speed).

testing internet connection speed

The speed of an internet connection refers to the quickness of the data transfer

The higher the Internet download and upload speeds, the faster data is downloaded and uploaded. In contrast, the lower the Internet speed, the slower data is transmitted from/to your device. 

High and stable internet speeds do matter when it comes to smooth internet experiences. Have you ever streamed your favorite TV shows on Netflix or made a video call using a slow internet connection? If you have, well, you must know how important a good internet speed is, right?

As of today, the Internet speed is typically measured in Mbps (megabits per second). Testing internet connection speed using online speed test tools is the easiest way to know how fast or how slow your internet is.

Well, these are short explanations about what internet bandwidth is and what internet speed is. Do you see any differences between them yet? If not, let’s find out right below here.

Differences between bandwidth and speed

Though many people use these two terms, internet bandwidth & internet speed, interchangeably, they are not the same. Bandwidth does not equal speed. They are related, but not equivalent for sure. 

testing internet connection speed

The bandwidth is not equal to the speed

Well, the biggest difference between internet speed and internet bandwidth can be summed briefly in one line: Bandwidth is how much data can be uploaded from or downloaded to your device in a given time, while internet speed is about how fast the data can be uploaded from or downloaded to your device. 

To be more specific, the bandwidth of a connection is like the size of the water pipe, not the rate (speed) of the water that flows through it. 

Yep, it's true that a larger bandwidth connection allows more data to pass through, meaning that it helps increase the speed in some cases, but it doesn't mean that the internet speed is the same as the internet bandwidth.

Does more bandwidth mean more speed?

Higher bandwidth is better as it allows more data and information to pass through. But does a higher bandwidth ensure a faster internet speed? Unfortunately, it does not.

Again, let's say you have double the size of the water pipe, but the water still flows through it at the same rate as it was when the pipe was as half as wide, then you know that the speed here is not improved at all, right? In other words, the larger size does not lead to any improvement in speed in this case, does it? 

testing internet connection speed

Higher bandwidth is better but it doesn’t ensure a faster internet speed

The cases that internet users have high bandwidth, but the connection works like a snail are not rare at all. This is because the internet speed is affected by not only bandwidth but also many other factors such as the distance, the capacity of your devices, network congestion, latency, and more. 

Roundup

Recently, we learned basic things about internet bandwidth, internet speed, and the differences between them. You now know that internet speed and bandwidth are not the same things and what makes them different from each other, don’t you? And that’s all for today’s article “Internet Speed vs Bandwidth: What’s the difference between them?” Hope you found it useful and interesting.

See also: online internet connection speed test

Sources:

norwestdigital.co.uk/blogs/difference-between-bandwidth-speed-internet-speed

techadvance.co.uk/blog/2019/04/bandwidth-vs-internet-speedwhats-the-difference

searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/bandwidth