What is Broadband?

The term "broadband" refers to a transmission medium that enables high speed Internet access through a connection service that is always on. The technology behind the transmission includes: DSL, Cable Modem, Fiber Optics, Wireless, Satellite, WiMax, and White Space, all of which are faster than dial-up access. The FCC, who categorizes broadband into various service tiers based on these speeds defined basic broadband service as data transmission speeds of at least 4 megabits per second in the download direction, and 1 megabit per second in the upload direction.

Different factors and the various types of technology determine the speed and quality of your connection and more importantly, how quickly you can access information, download files, or receive information.  To see a demo of how the technology and amount of information being transmitted impact upload and download speeds, launch this link and click the RUN button at the top of the screen. (This demo is best viewed on IE 9 and obove). 

Everyone has experienced delays waiting for something to load, long waiting time for downloads, skips and interruptions - all of which simply mean the connection cannot handle the speed at which the transmission is being delivered to the computer screen.

Depending on which is being used, the speed of the connection will often determine whether it is even possible to run the application seamlessly. Therefore, to perform specific tasks, or to use certain programs, your Internet connection must run at certain speed requirements.

The following is the current speed requirement of applications that service different sectors:

768K-1.5 Mbps

Email, Web Browsing, VOIP

1.5-3 Mbps

Telecommuting, Streaming Music and Video, Remote Surveillance

3-6 Mbps

File Sharing, Internet Protocol Television

6-10 Mbps

On-Demand Video, Gaming

10-25 Mbps

Telemedicine, Remote Education, IPTV High Definition

25-50 Mbps

HD Video Surveillance

50-100 Mbps

Video Conferencing, Remote Super Computing

>100 Mbps

Real-Time Data Collection, Real-Time Medical Image Consultation