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Internet Speed

February 1, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Jenny Bratburd

Internet speed is the measure of how fast data is transferred. More specifically, internet speed encompasses many metrics including bandwidth, latency, and jitter which describe the overall capacity and smoothness of data transmission. Different users may require different speeds depending on the application, so some aspects of speed may be more important than others for users with specific needs. Internet access technologies (fiber, cable, DSL, satellite, etc.) place different limitations on these performance metrics.

Highlights

  • Internet speed is usually measured by bandwidth, the amount of data transmitted over time.
  • Latency is another metric of speed, involving the amount of time for data to move between sender and receiver.
  • Different internet technologies have different speed limitations.

Limitations

  • Estimating average speed can be difficult depending on network conditions (congestion) and end-user technology.
  • Some new technologies (5G and low-earth orbit satellites) are relatively untested.
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