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Which bandwidth do I need for my applications?

Bandwidth large enough? This is how much speed you need for your company:

Fast Internet – everyone wants that. But how fast does a connection have to be – is 16 MBit/s bandwidth sufficient, or does it make sense to have 1000 MBit/s? And what does bandwidth mean exactly? UPC Business will tell you.

It feels like an eternity staring at the web browser at an empty page with a rotating hourglass? Jittery playback on Netflix? Voices that sound like robots in Skype? Anyone who has ever experienced this – and everyone has – knows that the Internet connection is too slow.

Fortunately, these sorts of annoyances are becoming rarer and rarer. In Switzerland, for example, the average bandwidth is just under 30 MBit/s. That’s okay for surfing the Internet and sending e-mails, but it’s still not mind blowing – in Singapore, and also in Sweden and Denmark, you can surf the Internet much faster. Switzerland now also has connections with 1000 MBit/s (1 MBit/s = 1 million bits per second).

Bandwidth: What does it mean?

And how much of it do you need for which application? First of all, a definition of the term: Bandwidth indicates how many of the smallest digital data units, the bits, are transmitted per second over a line or by radio. However, that’s not completely correct. Specifically, the bandwidth refers to the usable frequency range of a transmission medium, where both values correlate. The correct definition is more something for engineers anyway. For customers at home or in companies, only one thing counts: the value should be as high as possible.
How high exactly depends on what the Internet connection is used for.

Here are some examples of applications and how much bandwidth they require:

The amount of bandwidth you need for:

  • E-mail: 1 MBit/s or more if you need to send large file attachments
  • Music streaming: 6 MBit/s
  • Surfing the Internet: 10 MBit/s. Particularly websites with many images use up bandwidth
  • VoIP: 16 MBit/s (or more if webcam images are also transmitted)
  • Internet TV (e.g. Netflix): 6 MBit/s (Full-HD), 20 MBit/s (4K)
  • Online games: >100 MBit/s for multiplayer games

At first glance, the basic tariffs of the Internet service providers are sufficient. They offer several with ten MBit/s bandwidth. If several people or applications access the Internet at the same time, for example, in an SME, bandwidth can quickly become scarce. This is fatal if a micro-entrepreneur has a video conference with an important customer, her partner watches a film on Netflix using the same wifi and the son starts an online game on his mobile phone. This almost certainly leads to disturbances when making the video call.

Smaller companies and particularly freelancers who purchase telephone (professional and private), Internet and TV on one line and with one contract are therefore well advised not to underestimate the bandwidth. They often work on the PC with software that accesses the Internet unnoticed.

Warning: Background applications reduce speed

Some programs, such as online accounting software or collaboration tools like Asana, no longer run on the PC but in the cloud, as do security services, such as Google Drive or OneDrive. In the background, there is always a lot of data traffic, not only when downloading, i.e. receiving data from the Internet, but also when uploading, i.e. sending data to the cloud.
To be on the safe side, you therefore get tariffs with some hundred MBit/s, which you can get with a cable connection from UPC Business for moderate costs. Compared to DSL connections using the telephone line, they offer a high bandwidth for uploads. An example is our Business 600 tariff. It offers a rapid 600 MBit/s download and a very fast 60 MBit/s upload – enough for small businesses which run their business digitally.

Slow Internet? Test your speed!

With regard to bandwidths, the promises of the providers and reality can diverge widely. If your Internet speed seems too slow, you can do a Speed Test. Pay attention not only to the bandwidth, but also to the ping value. It indicates how long it takes after sending a data packet for a response from the Internet that it has been received.

However, the Internet provider is not always to blame for the Internet running at snail’s pace, even a slow wifi router and poor reception conditions in the house can be the cause.

 Carry out your speed test here

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