Definition of Bandwidth and its Functions and Types

For those of you who often interact with the internet, you may already be familiar with the term Bandwidth. For some people, Bandwidth is usually used to refer to the speed of the internet network.

Bandwidth is attached to units of bits per second (bps) on an internet network, for example, Mbps ( Megabits per second ), Kbps ( Kilobits per second ), and so on.

With this unit, some people may end up associating Bandwidth as the speed of the internet network.

On the other hand, linguistically, Bandwidth itself doesn’t actually mean internet speed, but rather means bandwidth. So, is it true that bandwidth can be interpreted as the speed of the internet network?

The definition of Bandwidth along with its functions and types is below:

Definition of Bandwidth

On the internet, bandwidth can be understood as the capacity, quota, or volume of an internet network used to receive and send data per second. Therefore, the Bandwidth unit is bps ( bits per second ).

Visually, the easiest bandwidth may be analogous to a pipe commonly used to deliver water from one point to another. This pipe has a certain volume so that it can deliver water.

The volume in the pipeline is similar to bandwidth. Meanwhile, water that is delivered through pipes is like data being transferred on the internet. The larger the volume of the pipe, the water can be delivered faster to get to another point.

Likewise with bandwidth, if the volume or quota of the internet line has a large size, the data transfer will also run faster, as reported by Lifewire, Monday (7/02/2022).

In another sense, Bandwidth is the maximum quota of data that can be transferred per second on the internet network. Bandwidth does have a slightly similar meaning to internet speed but is actually very different.

Internet speed refers to the rate of data transfer speed. Meanwhile, Bandwidth is the maximum fixed capacity, volume, or quota of that speed.

For example, you have a WiFi internet network with data transfer speeds of up to 10 Mbps. Then, you want to access internet services, such as streaming, playing games, and downloading files simultaneously on five devices.

The WiFi internet network can share the data transfer speed equally on the five devices. So, each device can access the service at a speed of 2 Mbps because the maximum quota of its bandwidth is 10 Mbps.

Bandwidth Function

From the explanation above, it can be concluded that at least Bandwidth has several functions to regulate the internet network. The Bandwidth functions include:

Data transfer path

Bandwidth in the internet has a function as a data transfer path. Like the pipe and water analogy above, Bandwidth is a path that connects the internet network from one device to another in order to transfer data.

For example, suppose you are using a router or modem that transmits an internet connection via a WiFi network to your computer. In it, there is Bandwidth as a path to deliver connections so that computers can transfer data on the internet.

Limiting data transfer speed

The next Bandwidth function is to limit the speed of data transfer. This function is usually used by administrators or internet connection owners in order to maintain optimal data transfer speeds.

If there are activities that consume a lot of bandwidth quota, such as online live streaming, it will significantly disrupt the data transfer speed for other users who are on the same internet connection network.

With this internet speed limitation, users who are on the same internet connection network will receive the same bandwidth quota.

So, there is no bandwidth that is sucked unequally due to activities like the above, so that all users can access the internet comfortably and fairly.

Types and examples of Bandwidth on a computer

Examples of bandwidth on a computer can be found in two models, there is a bandwidth that is connected to a computer via a cable and there is also a wireless one.

From this model, the bandwidth on the computer is divided into several types. For more details, see the types of Bandwidth on the following computer:


Dial-up is a type of bandwidth on a computer that is generated using a cable connection on a conventional landline. This type of bandwidth has an internet network quota of only around 56 Kbps.

Users must have landlines to get bandwidth from dial-up. The disadvantage of this type of bandwidth is that the internet connection is easily lost at the same time being used to access the internet and pick up the phone.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

DSL is a type of bandwidth generated from landlines using a broadband network. DSL has a higher internet network quota than dial-up services, ranging from 200 Kbps to 8 Mbps.

The bandwidth of DSL is generated over a broadband network via a copper cable connection. Then, the connection is connected to a router or modem device to distribute bandwidth quota wirelessly on the computer, via a WiFi network.

Cable TV

Just like DSL, cable TV is a type of bandwidth on a computer that can be connected wirelessly. This type of bandwidth also uses a broadband network, but through a fiber-optic connection commonly used on cable TV.

The internet network quota provided by cable TV is greater than DSL, which is more than 8 Mbps. The process of channeling bandwidth to a computer from cable TV is similar to DSL.

The cable TV connection is connected to a modem or router device. Then, the device will channel the internet network containing bandwidth, on the computer wirelessly via WiFi.

Mobile network

Bandwidth on the computer can also be generated via the cellular network. Many mobile phones are now able to share bandwidth quotas to other devices, including computers, through the “WiFi tethering” feature.

This feature is able to turn the cellphone into a modem device that can share the internet network via WiFi. With “WiFi tethering”, the computer can get bandwidth quota from the cellular network on the cellphone wirelessly.

The latest generation 5G cellular network has a fairly large bandwidth quota, which ranges up to more than 100 Mbps. Before channeling bandwidth from mobile phones to computers, users must have an internet data package first.

After that, the new user activates the “WiFi tethering” feature according to the guide on each phone and starts connecting it to the computer.

The explanation above only covers Bandwidth on the internet network on a computer. In addition, there are actually many categories of Bandwidth on different networks. Each network also has a different Bandwidth unit as well.

For example, Bandwidth on telephone and TV networks with units of Hertz (Hz) to measure the width of the radio frequency, which serves as a place or data transfer path.

Although the units are different, in essence, Bandwidth is a place, path, or volume that allows data transfer to occur. So, Bandwidth cannot be directly interpreted as the speed of the internet network.

Thus an explanation of the meaning of Bandwidth along with its functions and types may be useful.

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