What are Internet Bandwidth, Cable Internet and Dial Up Speed?

If you intend to know about internet speed, internet troubleshooting tips and a lot more about internet speed then this article is what you need to have a look on.

What is Internet Bandwidth?

Internet bandwidth can be best compared to a water pipe. A small pipe will take some time to transfer a certain amount of water compared to the time it will take to transfer the same amount of water using a bigger pipe.

The same thing goes with Internet bandwidth. The bigger the bandwidth, the more data can fit, and the faster the data is transferred.

Each type of Internet connection type has two channels in which the bandwidth can be measured. These two channels are the download or downstream and the upload or the upstream.

Internet bandwidth is measured in bits per second, the smallest amount of computer data. One thousand of these bits correspond to one kilobit.

Internet connections today must at least have a bandwidth of 56 kilobits per second (kbps) to surf the Internet properly.

Testing Your Bandwidth:

Most Internet Service Providers (ISP), especially those who provide broadband Internet access charge their clients or subscribers based on the size of their bandwidth. This means a 256 kbps connection will cost more than a 128 kbps one.

Reasons for Testing:

There are many reasons why you should test your bandwidth.

  • Knowing your bandwidth will come in handy when you frequently listen or watch streaming audio or video.
  • But the most important or at least most practical reason is knowing if you are getting your money’s worth since there are some ISPs that have a certain bandwidth, but when tested, results are far from what they claim.

The best way to test your connection’s bandwidth aside from downloading files from the Internet is by using free bandwidth testing services on the Internet. There are countless websites that offer this type of service.


Your bandwidth is tested in two ways, testing those two channels of your connection.

  • The first part of the test usually is the download test. It is done by getting a chunk of data from the server of the website and downloading it to your computer. The time it took to finish the download is recorded.
  • The second part of the test uploads or sends data from your computer and also measures it. The size of the data over the time it took to transfer it is your bandwidth.

A typical broadband connection should have bandwidths ranging from 128 kbps to several megabits per second (Mbps).

The resulting bandwidth that you get should be somehow close to what your ISP claims you have. Otherwise, you should contact your ISP and tell them about your problem.

What is Dial-up speed?

Though many people are shifting to broadband Internet connections, there are still a lot of people who use dial-up as their means of connecting to the Internet.

Though the broadband Internet is now becoming widely available and affordable, there are still some people who either do not have access to such services.

Some meanwhile find a broadband connection just too impractical. In many cases, broadband usually costs more than a dial-up connection.

Testing an Internet connection\’s speed has become popular because of broadband connections. But testing connection speeds is not only limited to broadband.

In fact, the speed testing was first introduced when during the time when broadband Internet was still not widely available to home users.

An Internet speed test works by transferring data to and from a certain website. A basic speed test is composed of two parts, which measures both channels of a connection.

  • The first part of the test usually is the download test which measures your downstream channel’s speed.
  • The second part is the upload test which measures the connection’s upstream speed.

The results that are presented is expressed in often in kilobits per second or kbps.

The maximum download speed that can be achieved in a dial-up connection is 56 kbps, and a max upload speed of 48 kbps.

For dial-up tests, images or picture files are used to test the speed. A file picture file, usually a JPEG or GIF, with a specific file size is downloaded from the website.

The time it takes to complete the transfer is recorded. The same thing goes when testing the speed of the uploads.

When testing a dial-up connection’s speed, make sure you use a test that is specifically designed for a dial-up Internet connection.

Running a test that is designed for a broadband connection will not cause any problems but may really take a long time to complete. Also, the results may not be accurate.

What is Cable Internet?

Cable Internet refers to using a cable television network used to connect to the Internet. Cable Internet takes advantage of the unused bandwidth of cable television networks.

Coaxial cables are the type of cables often used in cable television. This same cable is also used by for cable Internet.

Most cable television companies in the United States provide this Internet access too. This service is usually bundled with cable television, though a person can avail of only Internet access.

Cable Internet does not interfere with the operation of cable television, which means they can be used at the same time. In order to connect to the Internet using this type, a computer must be connected to a cable modem.

Cable modems are usually provided by the service company. This is a broadband type of connection as is one of the most popular connection types in the United States alone.

Measuring the Speed Cable Internet:

Just like any Internet connection, testing a cable Internet connection is done the same way.

Theoretically, cable Internet is much faster than DSL connections and is typically a little bit more expensive than DSL access depending on the speed.

A typical cable connection will have speeds ranging from 384 kilobits per second (kbps) to as much as 20 megabits per second (Mbps) for end user speeds.

Business-class connections start from 2 Mbps to more than 50 Mbps.

Since cable Internet should be faster than DSL, testing its speed may be a logical thing to do just to know if you are paying the right price.

Most broadband Internet Service Providers (ISP) charge their subscribers based on how much bandwidth they have. This means a 1mbps cable connection will have to cost more than a 384 kbps one.

Testing your cable Internet speed will reveal if your ISP provides you with the right bandwidth. There are some ways to test your connection’s speed aside from simply downloading files from the Internet.

The easiest way is to use free services provided by many websites to test your speed.

There is usually 2 parts of an Internet Speed test.

  1. The first part usually tests your download speed.
  2. The second one will test your upload speed.

Check the results of the test if it is somewhere close to what your service provider claims.

You must know that there are several factors that affect a connection’s speed. The quality of the cables and the current web “traffic” are the top factors that affect it.

To know more about such factors visit here.

Published by