Who Needs What? Unpacking Connectivity Speeds.Quayd Tait
Bits or Bytes – do you know the difference? Granted, it’s probably not your job to unpack the inner workings of your internet connection or to know everything about connectivity speeds.
However, having a basic understanding of what you have, what you need, and what you can do with it is essential to running a business.
Let’s dive right in.
Understanding Connectivity Speeds
We’re not saying that the incredible minds behind internet naming conventions deliberately try to make life difficult for the man on the street but understanding some of the terminology can sometimes make our brains bleed.
The simple version of connectivity and connection speeds goes like this:
The rate at which you’re receiving information from the worldwide web. You may be viewing an email or opening a web page, or even downloading an image.
This is the rate at which information you’re sending travels from your device to the internet. Generally speaking, your download speed will be significantly faster than your upload speed.
Connection speeds are measure in megabits per second (Mbps or Mb) or kilobits per second (Kbps or Kb).
A kilobit is equal to 1,000 bits whereas a megabit equates to around 1 million bits, with a ‘bit’ being a unit of data.
The next units up from these are gigabits per second (Gbps) which is 1,000 megabits and Terabits per second (Tbps) or 1,000 Gbps.
Basically, the higher the number, the better speed you will enjoy.
Speed Versus Bandwidth
Many people confuse speed with bandwidth. To illustrate, think of a hose pipe where the connection speed is how fast the water runs through the pipe, and the bandwidth is how wide (the diameter) the pipe actually is – or the carrying capacity of the line.
The faster the speed and the wider the pipe, the better connection you’ll enjoy.
Bandwidth is usually expressed as bytes per second (where 1 byte = 8 bits) with the B capitalised to distinguish between bits and bytes. Therefore, 10MBps is your bandwidth, and 10Mbps is your data speed.
What is a Good Internet Speed?
That’s the million-dollar question then, isn’t it?
The ideal connectivity speed for you may differ from the person or business next door. For example, if you check emails once a day and scroll through Facebook occasionally, the ideal connection speed for you doesn’t need to be fast or to carry a significant load.
However, if you have regular online video conference calls with the UK office, your graphics department is uploading and downloading large files daily, and your team work within the cloud, then you are looking for both speed and bandwidth.
It’s worth noting at this point that when a service provider quotes you expected connection speed this is no guarantee that you will get the maximum possible speed advertised, but that is a whole different conversation.
So, what is a “good internet speed”?
If you have a copper line (a DSL connection) then your speed will peak at around 6Mbps, whereas a fibre connection can deliver speeds up to 1Gbps.
According to mybroadband.co.za the average download speed across South Africa (2018) was 14.1Mbps, and the average upload speed, 9.4Mbps.
A further report from mybroadband shows the suburbs with the highest internet speeds, the top of which is Sandton in Gauteng with an impressive download speed of 34.739 Mbps.
The satisfactory answer to this question needs to take into account your unique connectivity needs.
What Services Can I Run on My Internet?
A DSL (copper) connection will serve you well for some gentle web browsing, sending and receiving emails and images, and perhaps downloading a few apps, podcasts or e-books.
You’ll need a bigger “pipe” when you want to download music and movies, stream television, radio or YouTube channels, or play real-time video games. In an office with multiple connected devices, with a requirement to feed information into and out of the cloud, video calls, live customer messaging, VoIP calling, and pretty much any software that runs online, a fast fibre line will be the way to go.
Connectivity Speeds are a Huge Deal
It’s clear that a successful business runs on a fast and reliable internet connection, and as you scale up your connectivity needs will change and expand.
Bearing in mind that South African businesses must be online to compete in the international market and that we need to be able to respond as quickly and efficiently as any of our competitors, Huge Connect has developed packages in collaboration with various partners to give you exactly what you need.
Whether you require a ‘byte-sized’ or an enterprise-level solution, we’d like to be your connectivity partner. Let’s connect.