Tech corner

What do different internet speeds mean?


Do you know your megs from your bits? Or your Gigs from your pings?

The language surrounding broadband and Wi-Fi can be a little confusing at times, with so much jargon and acronyms to deal with.

If sometimes you find it all a little too much to grasp have a quick read of this guide to what your internet speed actually means – and how fast it will enable you to do things online.

Broadband speeds are measured in 'megabits per second' which is often shortened to Mbps.

The higher the number of megabits you have, the faster your broadband should be and the faster it will be able to download Megabytes (MB) or units of data.

A higher number of megabits means you should be able to download things such as game updates more quickly, stream TV shows without buffering and have several users using different devices all online at the same time.

One Gigabit per seconds (or 1Gbps) is the equivalent of 1,000 Mbps.

KCOM’s Lightstream broadband is full fibre, meaning it delivers broadband right to your front door and can provide ultrafast speeds of up to 900Mbps to households.

So, what does this all mean?

Well, for customers on Lightstream’s lowest speed package of 30Mbps, this means downloading a single (5MB) song should take around 1.5 seconds. Downloading a (450MB) HD TV show should take less then two minutes while a HD (1,500MB) movie should take just over six minutes.

However, on a 100Mbps Lightstream package you’ll be able to download the same song in 0.4 seconds, the same TV show in 36 seconds and the same HD movie in about two minutes.

The faster speeds you have the more quickly you’ll be able to do these tasks.

So before choosing a package speed it’s always best to have a think about what you’ll be using the internet for before you decide.

Why not check out KCOM’s needs finder here to discover what broadband speed will work best for you.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, a ‘ping’ is how long your computer takes to respond to a request for information from the internet.

The ping time is measured in milliseconds with anything under 30 milliseconds considered excellent. A ping response over 50 milliseconds is considered slow and, while not affecting normal browsing, may affect some gaming with a noticeable ‘lag’.

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