Friday, 20 July 2018

Knowing Internet, Bandwidth and Internet Speed- A key to Streaming Video and Download via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & Youtube

Internet:- Internet is a network of networks which enable the communication between one computer to another without any geographical boundaries. In other words, internet helps to connect any computer to another in any part of the world. 

An wonderful technology which is the backbone of global economy which connects the entire world together. When it comes to technology which enable one computer to interact with another computer in the network, it's all about transferring data which can be understood by downloading and Uploading between the computer systems.

Internet Speed:- Internet Speed can be measured by download speed and uploading speed. Computer measures data in bytes, that means more bytes means faster experience, but having internet connection, does not mean you will be getting the same speed. Internet service provider controls the bandwidth and customize the internet plans to suit different segments of customers. In Network, transmission medium plays a very vital role. Now what is transmission medium? Transmission medium is a method of connecting two or more devices which can transmit data from one computer to another computer in a network. That can be wired connection and wireless connection, which enable transmission or connection between 2 or more devices in a given network. Given network means, LAN, MAN and WAN.

Bandwidth:- In simplest form, a bandwidth is the amount of data can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. There are variety of wired and wireless medium available to meet variety of data bandwidth needs. More bandwidth means more download and upload speed in a given network. Lets discuss about them:-

1. Coaxial Cable:- 10 to 100 Mbps
2 Twisted Pair Cable-:
  • Category 1:- Not suitable for data communication. Mostly used in telephone communication.
  • Category 2:- Up to 4 Mbps
  • Category 3:- Up to 10 Mbps
  • Category 4:- Up to 16 Mbps. This type of cable is used in Token Ring Topology.
  • Category 5:- Mostly used in Local Area Network. Can transmit data upto 100 Mbps.
  • Category 5e:-Up to 1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps. Very effective media where you need to create a network of 1 Gbps.
  • Category 6:- Fasted standard of UTP or twisted pair cable media. 
3. Fiber Optic:- 100 Mbps to 100 Gbps(Single Mode) and 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps (Multi Mode)
4. Thunderbolt 3:- Up to 40 Gbps.

Wireless LAN or Wi-FI:- Wireless LAN or WiFi is a transmission method designed to provide location independent network access or data transmission access between computing devices by using radio waves. That means, when our WiFi system transmits data between computing devices using radio signals. Wireless LAN works on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard 802.11

1. IEEE 802.11:- Up to 2 Mbps
2. IEEE 802.11a:- Up to 54 Mbps
3. IEEE 802.11b:- Up to 11 Mbps
4. IEEE 802.11g:- Up to 54 Mbps
5. IEEE 802.11n:- Up to 600 Mbps
6. IEEE 802.11ac:- Up to 1 Gbps

Just to give you an example: If you are having a 1 Gbps broadband line and you are using a WiFi access point which works on IEEE 802.11a or IEEE 802.11g standards,  you will be getting not more than 54 Mbps download and upload speed.

Similarly, your phone has wireless LAN card whose IEEE standard is also very important. As discussed above, if your phone WLAN card works on IEEE 802.11n standard, then you can experience internet download and upload speed up to 600 Mbps provided you must have 600 Mbps or 1 Gbps broadband line with same IEEE standard of WiFi access point.

Matching right hardware and right technology will give your smooth and fastest experience right from transmission medium used by ISP, WiFi access point and WLAN standard of your computing device.

Speed Test:- Doing Internet Speed Test is important to make sure you are getting the proper bandwidth as promised by your ISP and one should test the speed on regular basis. Speed test will provide you variety of information which included download speed, upload speed  and ping. Lets understand them:-

  1. Download Speed:- Download speed denotes how quickly data over internet network is transmitted to your computing device in Mbps or Gbps.
  2. Upload Speed:- Upload speed is just opposite to what we have understood in download speed. Upload speed describes how quickly your computer can upload data or content to the internet.
  3. Ping or Latency:- Ping or latency is expressed in milliseconds and it describes the amount of time it takes data to travel from one computing device to another computing device on the network.
Streaming Video:- Now a days many users in India are entertaining themselves by streaming videos, movies and music on YouTube , Netflix and Prime Video and to enjoy seamless streaming experience, download speed is the key. Although streaming content using an ethernet cable (wired connection) from your router or modem to streaming device  provides the best performance but connecting all devices with wired cable is not feasible in home environment. As discussed above, when using latest IEEE 802.11 standard in WiFi and streaming device will also fetches best streaming performance provided you have good Internet bandwidth.

Lets discuss some normal high-speed internet streaming activities and the minimum internet speed to have best streaming experience:-

  • 1 Mbps:- Good for streaming compressed music like MP3, AAC etc. Streaming SD (Standard Definition) quality video on your laptop or mobile. Normal web surfing.
  • 2 Mbps:- Good for streaming lossless music like WAV , FLAC etc.
  • 5 Mbps:- Good for streaming 720P video.
  • 10 Mbps:- Good for streaming Full HD (1080p) videos. That means if you are having Netflix and Prime Video subscription, look for at least 10 Mbps line.
  • 25 Mbps or More:- Good for streaming 4K or Ultra HD video.
The above bandwidth is good for when only one device is connected with your wifi router. In case multiple devices are connected and streaming videos and music online, overall performance may suffer. At this point, investing in high - end dual band router ( 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz) with beam-forming technology will help in maintaining good streaming experience.

One must look at the usage and number of users and then selecting the right ISP who can provide your bandwidth speed.

By:- Amrish Kumar Choubey
Follow me on Twitter:- @amrishchoubey


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