Updated: 07/06/2021 by Computer Hope

When referring to a data connection, bandwidth, communication speed, or connection speed is the total maximum transfer rate of a network cable or device. Essentially, it is a measurement of how fast data can be sent over a wired or wireless connection, usually measured in bps (bits per second). The more bandwidth a computer has, the faster it can send and receive information.

For example, when connecting to the Internet using a dial-up modem, your operating system may display "Connected at 56 kbps," indicating a maximum of 56 kilobits of data is transferred every second. Users with a broadband connection, more specifically fiber optic broadband, can get transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps, which is nearly 180,000 times faster than a 56 kbps modem. Using a broadband connection loads webpages significantly faster than dial-up.

Upload and download

Most broadband connections are asynchronous, which means there are different speeds depending on the way data is traveling. A download speed or receiving speed is how fast your computer can get files from the Internet. For example, when you browse the Internet, you are downloading files from a server so they can be viewed in your browser. Download speeds are nearly always faster than upload speeds with these connections.

The upload speed or sending speed is how fast your computer can send files to the Internet. For example, when on a video call with someone else, your video must be uploaded before it can be viewed by others.


If bandwidth is shared with other computers, neighbors, devices, etc. you will not reach the maximum capacity reported by your ISP (Internet service provider).

How to increase my bandwidth

The only method of increasing your available bandwidth is through your Internet provider. In some situations, an Internet provider may offer different tiers of service that offer different levels of bandwidth. However, if your Internet provider doesn't have a higher tier level and you need a connection that provides more bandwidth, we suggest looking for an alternative provider. If there are no other providers in your area that offer a faster connection, you cannot increase your bandwidth.


If you have a broadband connection shared between people in your house, you can request they stop doing their Internet activity to increase your bandwidth temporarily. For example, if you're getting interruptions with Skype and someone is watching a Netflix movie or playing an online game, having them stop increases your available bandwidth.

Baseband, BPS, Data transfer, Download, Downstream, Modem, Network terms, Phone terms, Speed, Upload