Speed and Bandwidth
Name: M. M. G.
Date: January 2004
How does speed increase with the increase in bandwidth in the Internet?
Suppose all the cars on a one-lane street were 50 feet long, and each carried only one
person. If they travelled bumper-to-bumper at 50 feet per second, the street could
carry one person per second past any given point. If cars were shortened to be only
five feet long, the street could then carry 10 people per second past any given point.
Shortening the cars is analogous to increasing the bandwidth. The individual bits of
information do not travel any faster when bandwidth is increased from, say, 10 million
bits per second to 100 million bits per second -- they always travel at something like
1/3 the speed of light, in a wire -- but more of them can be packed into the same lengt
Speed IS bandwidth. They are in essence the same thing to the end user! A provider would
have a slightly different definition.
Obviously the bigger the "pipe" the more bandwidth, with fiber-optics at the moment being
the biggest pipe.
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Update: June 2012