Internet bandwidth refers to the capacity of a network communication link to transmit data from one computer to another in a specified time – usually one second. Contrary to popular conception, bandwidth does not refer to a measure of network speed and is more to do with the capacity for data transfer rates.
Bandwidths are traditionally expressed in bits per second (bps); network links that have a greater capacity that can be measured in millions of bits per second is referred to as Mbps or megabits per second. And when the internet bandwidth capacity is even bigger and can be measured in billions of bits per second, or gigabits per second, it’s referred to as Gbps.
Internet bandwidth can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Here asymmetrical bandwidth refers to having the same data capacity for both downloading and uploading. Similarly, asymmetrical bandwidth connection means that the downloading and uploading capacities aren’t equal. In asymmetrical bandwidth connections, the downloading capacity is generally larger than the uploading capacity.
The larger the bandwidth a data connection has, the larger the data that can be sent or received. To understand it better, you can compare bandwidth with the amount of water that flows through a pipe. The larger the pipe is, the more the amount of water that can flow through it, in a given time. Bandwidth capacity works on the same concept; thus, the larger the capacity of the network link, the more the data that can flow through it per second.
You should also know that the greater the capacity of the network connection, the more expensive it will be. Aside from this, there are various factors that can degrade a network throughput and make a maximum capacity network link behave like one with lower bandwidth. This is because a network path consists of multiple network links, with each having a different bandwidth capacity; as a result of this, low-bandwidth links can lead to bottlenecks which limit the overall data capacity of the network pathway, resulting in latency, jitters and packet losses.
Advances in technology have also made bandwidth calculation a little bit more complicated as they are dependent on the type of network used too. The latest technology being offered by most ISPs is optical fibres which use light waves and can transmit larger data packets in a given time, thus effectively increasing bandwidth capacity.
In order to know the bandwidth capacity you need, multiply the number of people using the network at the same time with the bandwidth capacity required by each person. This way, you can calculate the bandwidth capacity needed each month.