Definition of Broadband - Is There One?!
the definition of broadband? There's so much hype around
broadband (a.k.a. high speed broadband, mobile broadband, wireless
many of us stop to ask the
very good question: "What exactly is broadband?"! Most of us
heard of it, companies have been marketing it like crazy for
over a decade, and we even use these terms in our daily lives.
But really, how many people really understand the
definition of broadband?
as common and popular as it is, and with all of the discussion around
4G mobile broadband services, and no contract broadband, there
a standard, universally agreed to definition of broadband.
quite amazing when you think about it. In general, broadband
be defined as one single medium
carrying many channels (and a large
range of frequencies) at once over
long distances. For example, in the world of television, a
broadband service provides dozens of channels over one single cable
delivered to your home. In terms of the Internet, it can
data, video, and audio all at once. So before broadband, you
wouldn't be able to use Skype to have conference calls, or watch
streaming video over your Internet connection. Broadband
technology enabled the delivery of these types of services.
That's the real world application!
people like to define broadband in terms of the physical speed that it
deliver. This approach is certainly very logical.
The problem is that no one can seem to agree on what
speed is or should be! Here's a few examples of common
speed-based definitions of broadband:
to the Internet at speeds greater than dial-up modems (i.e. 56 kbit/s)
is considered to be broadband.
Cable or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is considered broadband.
- Pre-2010 FCC definition: Bandwidth that provides speeds
greater than 2 Mbps is defined as being broadband.
- 2010 FCC definition: Bandwidth that provides speeds of 4
Mbit/s down, and 1 Mbit/s up.
- 2015 FCC definition: Bandwidth that provides speeds of 25
Mbit/s down, and 3 Mbit/s up.
everyone CAN agree on is that there is no agreement on the definition
of broadband, and that it changes over time! As a result,
many people loosely define it
any high speed Internet access. With all of the Prepaid
technologies currently available,
while such a definition is nice and generic, it certainly does not
provide any insight for those of us who want to compare and evaluate
the existing broadband technologies.
Broadband elements that
- The actual speed
delivered and how people define it is subjective.
- It's an
always on, fast connection using large capacity networks.
greater the bandwidth, the greater the data/information that can be
carried across it.
standard/global definition exists!
believe that it doesn't really matter what people debate in terms of a
formal technical definition of broadband or what particular speed is
required. For me it comes down to what you can do with a
particular broadband connection. For example, how long does
it take to view an image that's downloaded online? Can you
listen to streaming music or movies and have it come through smoothly?
Can you have a phone conversation with good quality audio
using VoIP (Voice over IP; i.e. voice over data) services like Skype,
Hangouts, or Face Time?
Or better yet, can you have a live
video conference without skipping images and shoddy speech?
These are the types of real life activities that really tell
you the capabilities of your broadband connection. So whether
it's officially 2.5G, 3G, 4G, or 5G it doesn't really matter!
Carriers are constantly marketing that their service is faster than
their competitors, or that stating that prepaid sub-brands have
throttled speeds. Don't let yourself get caught up in the
propaganda! What matters is performance. If a
particular prepaid service is capped at 10 Mbps, compared to its
postpaid big brother performing at 20 Mbps, what's the real world
difference? Can I still stream 4K video with no buffering on
10 Mbps network? Of course!
Wait, there's more!
Let's go beyond just the definition of broadband. Once
people started getting access to broadband, mobile broadband in
particular, it became clear that we could now download hundreds of
megabytes, and even 100s of gigabytes of data without long, irritating
Companies then started selling customers buckets of data.
Initially data plans were actually unlimited because people
were fearful of going over their data bucket and ending up with a huge
overage bill at the end of the month. However, now consumers
more savvy, and getting used to how much data things consume.
However, it's still not always clear, and with prepaid
broadband plans, knowing how much data you need is important, because
it can drastically change the price and value of a given provider's
plan, and definitely change your purchase decision.
broadband carriers will provide a list of estimated activities that a
user can accomplish with a certain amount of megabytes. They
use real world, human language to help people better understand.
Here's a commonly accepted example of what you'll see
companies claim that I think is very useful:
you get in the real world!
200 text emails
|Visit 150 Website page views
|Send or Post 60 Photos
|Download 5 songs, apps, or games
|Watch 2 hours
|Stream 2 hours of music
hours of online games
|1 hour of turn-by-turn
Definition Of Broadband