Using the internet is as easy as ABC. However, the terminologies and technicalities that come with it when choosing plans and packages might seem intimidating. Understanding the differences and the meanings of the terms should not be difficult, and we are here to help you avoid confusion from now on. We will do our best to explain each and every term as simply as possible. Let’s go!
Before anything else, we will go through the kinds of internet offered in the market right now. Fiber, DSL, cable, and satellite internet are the most accessible type of internet you may encounter, depending on your location. What is the difference between them?
- DSL – this type of internet is somehow the same as a dial-up network, but the internet and phone line runs from different frequencies. If you were to compare the digital subscriber line to other types of internet, it is better than satellite internet, but it is slower than fiber and cable internet.
- Satellite – this is often used in rural and underserved areas. It is mostly slower than DSL internet as it requires an open space without any obstacles to keep it working correctly. You will use a satellite dish to send and receive data. One of the satellite providers that you can trust is Hughesnet internet.
- Cable – this is a decent service for people who cannot afford fiber optic internet. Just like the name, it uses cable wires to provide users a faster internet speed. Most suburban and urban areas use this type of internet because of affordability.
- Fiber – Fiber optic internet is the top-tier internet due to its speed and reliability. However, cable internet providers are doing everything to catch up with it. One of the issues with fiber optic services is that it does not have an excellent coverage like cable and DSL. It works by transmitting data through tiny glass fibers.
Terminologies and technicalities
- Latency – if you are experiencing long wait times when searching for something on the internet, that is called latency. It is the measured time in sending and receiving the data back. For example, when searching for something on Google, you might have experienced a slight delay from time to time. That delay is the latency we are talking about, so keep in mind that lower latency is always better. You will often see latency measured by milliseconds.
If you are into online gaming, you will see the term “ping” on your screen. When the ping is higher, the “lag” or the delay you are experiencing is worse. However, ping is not the actual latency. It is the request you “ping” to the server, and the ping rate tells you how long it gives you the response.
- Bandwidth – a common misconception regarding bandwidth is that it also pertains to your internet speed. Bandwidth is the measurement of the amount of data your service can deliver to your device. For example, you called for food delivery for 20 people. The amount of food the deliveryman can carry on a single trip. Unlike latency, higher bandwidth is excellent for you.
- Bytes and bits – you may often see megabytes, gigabytes, and kilobytes. Bytes are often used in measuring data sizes like photos, movies, and other files. On the other hand, bits are used to measure internet speed like 10Mbps, 50Mbps, etc. If you know the data size of something you want to download and your internet speed, you can easily estimate the download time.
- Download and upload speed – usually, download speeds are advertised in internet plans and packages. When talking about download speed, it pertains to how fast your network can get information from the server. On the flip side, upload speed refers to how fast your network can send data to the server. Download speeds are always advertised because it is more vital than the upload speed.
- Bandwidth caps – also known as data caps, this is a limit some internet service providers impose on their customers. Once you reach and exceed their set limit, they will charge you extra fees. If you are a hardcore gamer or streamer, you might want to go for an unlimited internet service to avoid these additional fees.
How much speed do I need?
Determining the speed you need will depend on how often you use the internet, how many people will use it, and what you will use it for. These factors should be your first considerations before coming up with a final decision. Also, look for reliable internet providers that are not only after your hard-earned money.