More About Bandwidth: What Is Bandwidth, And How Does It Affect You?


It’s safe to say that the traditional means of discovering information is changing immensely.

Dictionaries, novels, and entertainment have all been replaced with digital, more accessible versions via the World Wide Web that have Canadians connected to the Internet more than ever. With an average of seven active connected devices in homes across North America, according to a study conducted by Sandvine, people are constantly looking to their devices for both answers and entertainment. But relying on the Internet comes with a price, and we’re not talking about the cost of your communications bill. Surfing, streaming and gaming costs a little something called ‘bandwidth.’

Bandwidth describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network or Internet connection. It measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time, according to

For the average person, the definition of bandwidth may be slightly confusing. Yes, it describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network or Internet connection – but what does that mean to you? In layman’s terms, have you ever look at your bill at the end of the month and realize you have been over charged? Your day-to-day may include hours of utilizing the web: searching new recipes, scrolling through social media platforms, online shopping, etc. Each of these online activities cost bandwidth – and if you don’t have an unlimited bandwidth package with your ISP provider, it’s not difficult to surpass your data cap that is determined when you sign up with an ISP.

But, who wants to have limits on Internet? With over 3 million Canadians connected to the Internet, technology has become an essential in our daily lives. It’s no longer reasonable to put limitations on Internet, especially when aspects of our lives may rely on being connected. As both a source of entertainment and a tool to enhance our lives overall, technology is becoming the answer to both our needs, and desires.

You may see reference to data caps, or broadband caps, while surfing around for a new ISP. Essentially, A broadband or data cap is the limitation in which an Internet Service Provider provides at your time of signing up, for an agreed-upon charge. If you exceed that limit at the end of the month – you’re greeted with a bill with overcharges. With a data cap, enjoying the web becomes a hassle, and since streaming is extremely popular nowadays, ISP’s are happily imposing bandwidth caps in order to achieve profit from your hours of watching cat videos.

So, you’re currently using a plan that has a data cap, what do you do? Determining how you utilize the Internet is the first step to knowing how much data you truly need. For example, browsing the Internet can use up less data than streaming videos. If you’re an avid ‘streamer,’ you may consider switching to an unlimited bandwidth package with an ISP. It’s also important to determine how much data you may use, as you utilize the Internet in your preferred way. Streaming YouTube can vary in data usage per hour, depending on the quality of videos you are streaming and gaming can actually use less data than streaming, based on several variables like the type of game, quality, etc. Downloading, uploading, sending e-mails and using social platforms all vary in usage. There are websites that automatically calculate an estimated data usage per month in your household, based on your implemented hours on these platforms, in order to have an idea of your total monthly usage. You can find an estimate for each of these mediums online, but it’s hard to pin-point exactly how much bandwidth they use.

Don’t want to deal with all this? We get it. If you’re a technology lover, and love to be connected to the web at all times, the last thing you want to worry about is bandwidth. Find yourself an ISP that offers unlimited bandwidth – so you can utilize the Internet the way you want to, without the hidden fees and the unexpected overcharges.