Bandwidth vs. Speed
One key area of concern that I am noticing when vetting and designing a customer’s solution is the lack of attention that is given to the bandwidth that is ACTUALLY needed to transmit their data, run their apps, etc. Often times the estimated bandwidth needed is severely underestimated and being miscalculated with speed or “throughput” estimates vs. bandwidth needs. Think of it this way, when you are sitting in a 6 lane traffic jam on the highway going 10 miles per hour in a car that can do over 100 miles per hour, the problem is not the car, the problem, at this particular time, is the number of lanes that is being utilized, or blocked at the peak time in which most people are trying to use it. The cars ability to go 100+ miles per hour in this scenario is the speed; whereas the highway and lanes in which the car travels on is the bandwidth. So, when thinking of a solution, are you ok with traffic jams during peak times that can result in Jitter, Latency, Packet Loss etc., or would you determine if an 8-lane highway is more suitable?
When planning on how much bandwidth is enough, you would need to take into account the number of users, number of devices, size of your office or home, intended usage, current/future network MAXIMUM capabilities of throughput, in addition to deciding which is most important – figuring which device will deliver the data the cheapest (per unit or per mbps) or getting my data there efficiently. Check and compare manufacturers throughput allowance when designing your network. The most expensive or most well-known brand is not always the best performing.
Security parameters or protocols will eat into your speed, much like if the car you are driving on an open freeway has car washes on said freeway every 5 miles and you MUST go through them. Your time from A to B would be delayed.
Normal digital footprint for speed in the data ecosystem is about 12-19 Mbps per user and if you are working with 4K streaming it jumps to 25-39 Mbps per user. Factor in your peak times with usage estimates and see where you fall within. Additional things to think about, as you transition to more AI and Automation, how will that consume your network capabilities.
There are many different highway types, i.e. Wi-Fi, WLAN, LAN, 4G, 5G, WAN, SD WAN, etc. Each type has a limit based on the manufacturer throughput allowance (going 35 miles per hour vs. 70 miles per hour)
Here are the speeds you can expect*
|Internet Connection Bandwidth|
|56 kbit/s||Modem / Dialup|
|1.5 Mbit/s||ADSL Lite|
|2.048 Mbit/s||E1 / E-Carrier|
|11 Mbit/s||Wireless 802.11b|
|54 Mbit/s||Wireless 802.11g|
|100 Mbit/s||Fast Ethernet|
|490 Mbit/s||5G 3.5 GHz|
|600 Mbit/s||Wireless 802.11n|
|1 Gbit/s||Gigabit Ethernet|
|1.3 Gbit/s||Wireless 802.11ac|
|1.4 Gbit/s||5G 28 GHz|
|5 Gbit/s||USB 3.0|
|7 Gbit/s||Wireless 802.11ad|
|10 Gbit/s||10 Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.1|
|40 Gbit/s||Thunderbolt 3|
|100 Gbit/s||100 Gigabit Ethernet|
*speeds are only peak speed recordings; you will never achieve these numbers during normal use due to overhead and other network factors.