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Bandwidth Meter

In computing, bandwidth is the bit-rate of available or consumed information capacity expressed typically in metric multiples of bits per second. Bandwidth may be characterized as network bandwidth, data bandwidth, or digital bandwidth. A bandwidth meter is a networking tool that tests internet speed by interpreting a data transfer rate, the amount of data that can be carried from one place to another in one second. Network bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps). The most modern networks typically have speeds measured in the millions of bits per second (megabits per second, or Mbps) or billions of bits per second (gigabits per second, or Gbps). Effective bandwidth is the highest reliable transmission rate a path can provide. It is measured with a bandwidth test. This rate can be determined by repeatedly measuring the time required for a specific file to leave its point of origin and successfully download at its destination. A bandwidth test is a program that sends one or more files of known size over a network to a distant computer (for example, your own computer), measures the time required for the file(s) to successfully download at the destination, and thereby obtains a theoretical figure for the data speed between two or more points, usually in kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). Note that bandwidth is not the only factor that affects network performance and speed: There is also packet loss, latency and jitter, all of which degrade network throughput and make a link perform like one with lower bandwidth. Also internet traffic, noise on data lines, test file size, number of files tested, weather conditions, and the demand load on the test server at the time of the test can all affect bandwidth meter test results. In order to get more accurate estimate of bandwidth, experts suggest that three or more different test sites be used, and that each test be conducted six times at each site. Then the top and bottom third of the figures should be disregarded. Finally, the middle third of the results should be averaged. Different applications require different bandwidths. An instant messaging conversation might take less than 1,000 bits per second (bps); a voice over IP (VoIP) conversation requires 56 kilobits per second (Kbps) to sound smooth and clear. Standard definition video (480p) works at 1 megabit per second (Mbps), but HD video (720p) wants around 4 Mbps, and HDX (1080p), more than 7 Mbps.