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Internet Speed: Understanding the Anatomy

There’s a lot more to the internet than simply fast or slow

For most of us, the internet has become part of our daily lives. We’ve used it so often that it feels intuitive in its operations—and we can feel it in our bones when it’s running slow.

Key terms about internet speed

Bandwidth is a measurement of the maximum amount of data you can transfer between two points on a network—rather than the actual speed at which that information is traveling it tells us how much information can pass through a gateway in any one spot. Your internet provider controls the bandwidth you receive, but it’s also affected by the modem and fiber optical network terminal (ONT) that are used. To get more bandwidth, talk to Horizon to upgrade to a “faster” plan.

As a rule: High bandwidth is best.

Latency is the amount of time data takes to reach a remote server and return to you—this is the actual speed at which the data is moving, plus the distance. The farther the data has to travel and the number of actual hops it has to make along the way affects how you perceive the speed. This becomes truly noticeable when you’re requesting data from the other side of the world—or from a satellite network.

As a rule: Low latency is best.

Lag represents the time you spend waiting for your data when your latency is high. This can range from barely noticeable in many situations to unbearable when you’re playing a video game that requires split-second timing.

Buffering refers to the process of preloading data into a reserved area of memory that’s called the buffer. If the device receiving the data, usually audio or video, doesn’t receive the content at the rate that’s required, the content you’re using will pause while the buffer waits to be refilled.

Want to know more?  Horizon is here to help!

At Horizon, we’re happy to help you determine which speed is right for you. Contact us with your questions. We’d love to hear from you.

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