What Do Broadband Speeds Really Mean: Deciphering The Terminology

When we talk about global broadband speeds, there is a lot of different terminologies thrown around. Mbps, download speed, mean download speed, fixed broadband speed: it seems like another language completely!

In order to completely understand what is being said when discussing broadband speeds, it is important to know what all these words and definitions mean. Here are some of the keywords and terms when it comes to broadband connectivity so that you can be sure to fully understand, even when conversations get highly technical.

internet connection

Mbps this stands for “megabits per second” and is the term most commonly used to measure download speeds. It refers to the number of bits of data which are transmitted over the connection every second (NB 1 byte = 8 bits). An extremely fast connection would be around 150 – 180 Mbps, whereas anything under 5 Mbps would be considered very slow.

Mean download speed – We most commonly measure broadband connectivity in terms of download speed, because most connections are designed to download faster than they upload, given that most online activity is download heavy (eg. loading webpages or watching videos). The “mean” download speed refers to the average download speed in a given place or for a given set of connections.

Fixed broadband speed – The fixed broadband speed refers to the speed of connection that you receive over a fixed line, such as fiber optic cables. This is also measured in Mbps and generally refers to the maximum speed which is possible rather than the average connection speed.

Upload speed – Upload Speed, on the other hand, refers to the speed in which you can send information over the connection (rather than receive information, as will download speed). Despite the focus on download speed, uploads are also important as we use these when we attach files to an email, for example, or communicate via video chat.

Ping – Ping is another way of measuring your connection speed, as it is how fast you get a response after you’ve sent out a request over the connection. Ping is measured in ms or milliseconds, and a faster ping means a more responsive connection.

ADSL and ADSL 2+ – ADSL stands for “asymmetric digital subscriber line”. This is a type of broadband technology which transmits the connection across regular telephone lines but at a faster speed than traditional “dial-up” connections. ADSL 2+ is the second generation of this technology allowing for faster connections.

Fibre Optic Cables – This is a different type of technology used to transmit broadband communications, in a similar way to ADSL/ADSL 2+ but allowing much faster speeds. This is because these type of cables use light to transmit information which moves much more quickly.

Satellite – Satellite is another method for accessing the internet, and is most commonly used in rural or remote locations where cable-based internet services are not available. Data is transferred to the user via a satellite in space and a receiver on the ground.

ISPs – ISPs stands for internet service providers and is a general term which refers to the companies who provide internet for consumers or businesses. ISPs could use any of the technology listed above, or other types, in order to deliver the internet to consumers.

Now, that you have all the important knowledge that is required to completely understand the vastness of the Internet and its speed worldwide, here, we are providing the total breakdown of different Internet speeds at different regions all around the world.
Global Broadband Speeds 2019

Source: M247 Gigabit Business Broadband, Cloud Hosting, Security VoIP Services Partner

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Ranbeer Maver is a Computer Science undergraduate. He's a geek who embraces any new consumer technology with inhuman enthusiasm.