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  • Writer's pictureMaría Belén Gómez

What is a shared bandwidth and its implications?

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

You feel that the speed of your Internet service is slow, even though you have contracted a plan with good speed. This can be due to several factors, one of them is the shared bandwidth that can affect the fluidity of the service connection.

What is shared bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can pass through a connection, whether wired or wireless. It usually has a limit, which depending on the connection can be several gigabytes of transmission speed.

Shared bandwidth implies that several users will use the same transmission channel. In other words, the connection of several people flows through the same medium. This is common in wired connections, either with optical fiber, coaxial cable or normal UTP cable connections. The detail is that all connections flow through a single channel and can generate problems.

Shared bandwidth issues

Shared bandwidth causes several people to use a single channel to keep your Internet service flowing. The problem is that the more people are connected at the same time, the more capacity they demand and the slower the connection. A common example is fast connections during working hours, but slow connections at night, when all users are connected.

This problem can increase if the Internet company oversaturates the network to get more customers. Connecting more users causes the bandwidth to exceed its capacity, making connections impossible. This would cause the service to drop, until the information is cleared from the communication channel.

To avoid this type of problem, companies usually apply several measures. The first is to place a limit on the number of users per connection point, while expanding bandwidth capacity. On the other hand, they have several networks available and distribute the users in each one to avoid collapses in these.

Advantages of shared bandwidth connections

The main advantage of shared bandwidth Internet connections is economy. The plans for this type of service are more affordable than dedicated ones, since the operating costs are distributed among all the users connected to the network.

Dedicated connections have a connection point for a single user, which allows a more stable speed, but costs much more for installation and service rental.

How much speed can you lose with a shared connection?

An important point is whether you are really affected by the speed loss of a shared connection. Generally you lose between 10 to 15% of the total speed you contracted. For example, for a speed of 100 mbps download and upload, you can have a performance between 85 mbps and 90 mbps.

This is a minimal loss in the largest of cases, which does not affect common activities. However, if your home has many streaming platforms constantly connected, it can affect the quality of transmission.

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