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  1. #1
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    Question How to explain bandwidth to a noob?

    Let me explain further. We're redesigning our site and thought we'd explain a few simple terms (bandwidth being one of them). I've contacted a few people who know little to nothing about computers or the Internet as test subjects and we can't seem to get past this one term.

    As a web host, how would you explain bandwidth to a complete noob? When I say noob, I mean someone who has a hard time finding his/her desktop. I've tried my hardest to explain it and they either get confused or have more questions.

  2. #2
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    Are you trying to explain bandwidth or data transfer? We, as professionals, often (mistakenly) use the two terms interchangeably, but if you're looking for good analogies, the two are really different things. So let's make sure you're trying to define the right thing. I was going to give you a garden hose/fire hose analogy, but this would be for bandwidth, not data transfer.

    So which one would you like?
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  3. #3
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    I think that maybe where I get them confussed...

    What I'm trying to explain is account "X" has X MB diskspace & X amount of Bandwidth. I'm trying to explain the bandwidth part in more detail (so a noob could explain it).

  4. #4
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    What you are describing is actually the data transfer and not bandwidth. Imagine the bandwidth as a hose pipe, the bigger it is the faster (more) water can get through. The water would be the data.

    With bandwidth you would measure it in Mbit/second or Gbit/second. e.g. 10Mbit connection
    With data transfer you can use your MB or GB per month. e.g. 10GB transfer per month
    Steve

  5. #5
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    You are falsely labeling data transfer as bandwidth hence why you are confused.

    To continue on the difference. Bandwidth would be like a fire house vs a garden hose and transfer would be the total amount of units of water transferred. Transfer is a function of bandwidth and time.

    So in physics terms. Bandwidth = velocity Transfer = distance

  6. #6
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    Anyone else know how to make it more simple to understand Data Transfer?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantis Services
    Anyone else know how to make it more simple to understand Data Transfer?

    Using the hose analogy......

    You have a gallon of water and you send it in one lump sum through the hose.

    Take the same gallon and trickle it over say one hour to get that gallon to the other end.

    Your Bandwidth usage is considerably lower on the latter or trickling.

    But your data transfer is still the same = 1 gallon.

    The only thing you changed is the rate of said transfer.

    Hope that helped
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  8. #8
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    Wow, I guess i had bandwidth and data transfer confused too.

    So when you see a dedicated server with 150Gb bandwidth per month they are really confused too?

    It should say 150GB of data transfer per month right? I mean if they meant bandwidth, theyd say 150GB of bandwidth, and that would mean your server is capable of handling 150GB of transfer per second? Now i'm really confused, someone needs to clarify this. Or is the term universaly misused by almost all hosting companies?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantis Services
    Anyone else know how to make it more simple to understand Data Transfer?
    Why don't you address data transfer in terms that just about anybody in the real world understands? That is, the number of bytes. But, take it a step further and explain it in terms of the number of characters that are allowed to be transferred in a specific amount of time. Yet again, the number of characters can be further explained as number of letters and/or digits that are allowed to be transfered in a set amount of time. But, don't just explain bytes or characters or letters/digits. You also might need to explain the transfer of images or music or videos. As example, you might try explaining how many pictures of 100 kilobytes can be uploaded/downloaded for a specified period. A similar kind of explanation might need to be formulated for somebody that might want to picture the sending of documents that consist of "X" number of characters. The period of time can also be explained as weekly or monthly or yearly.

    Thus, as an example, if a person wants to know how much in "data transfer" he needs in order to download or upload some jpeg images, you might want to give him a very simple formula such as: amount of data transfer needed = number of images TIMES approximate number of bytes per image. The user would need to know how much uploading/downloading he has in mind before settling on a weekly or monthly or yearly quantity for transfer of data.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by adorno
    Why don't you address data transfer in terms that just about anybody in the real world understands? That is, the number of bytes. But, take it a step further and explain it in terms of the number of characters that are allowed to be transferred in a specific amount of time. Yet again, the number of characters can be further explained as number of letters and/or digits that are allowed to be transfered in a set amount of time. But, don't just explain bytes or characters or letters/digits. You also might need to explain the transfer of images or music or videos. As example, you might try explaining how many pictures of 100 kilobytes can be uploaded/downloaded for a specified period. A similar kind of explanation might need to be formulated for somebody that might want to picture the sending of documents that consist of "X" number of characters. The period of time can also be explained as weekly or monthly or yearly.

    Thus, as an example, if a person wants to know how much in "data transfer" he needs in order to download or upload some jpeg images, you might want to give him a very simple formula such as: amount of data transfer needed = number of images TIMES approximate number of bytes per image. The user would need to know how much uploading/downloading he has in mind before settling on a weekly or monthly or yearly quantity for transfer of data.
    What?

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturnix123
    What?
    Read it slowly and carefully.

  12. #12
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    Your power bill is higher if you use more electricity. With the website, the more it is used it is more expensive to host. The reason is not power, but the data transfered from website. At home oven uses more power then alarm clock. On web site image uses more "data transfer" then plain text. With your account __accout_type__ you get _this_many_ MB data transfer. That means that people can view picture on your website __this_many__ times.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturnix123
    Wow, I guess i had bandwidth and data transfer confused too.

    So when you see a dedicated server with 150Gb bandwidth per month they are really confused too?

    It should say 150GB of data transfer per month right? I mean if they meant bandwidth, theyd say 150GB of bandwidth, and that would mean your server is capable of handling 150GB of transfer per second? Now i'm really confused, someone needs to clarify this. Or is the term universaly misused by almost all hosting companies?
    Bingo they are just confused or have adapted their marketing to individuals who consider bandwidth and transfer the same when they are fundamentally different.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelized
    Bingo they are just confused or have adapted their marketing to individuals who consider bandwidth and transfer the same when they are fundamentally different.
    Hahahah crazy.

    So its one big mistake that has snowballed into a global misunderstanding. Cool.


    Quote Originally Posted by sasha
    Your power bill is higher if you use more electricity. With the website, the more it is used it is more expensive to host. The reason is not power, but the data transfered from website. At home oven uses more power then alarm clock. On web site image uses more "data transfer" then plain text. With your account __accout_type__ you get _this_many_ MB data transfer. That means that people can view picture on your website __this_many__ times.
    I like this analogy.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturnix123
    I like this analogy.
    So do & it works for me. Thank you.

    If you don't mind, I'll use this on our new site design.
    Since April 2001 Atlantis Services - Proudly servicing everyone's web hosting needs!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantis Services

    If you don't mind, I'll use this on our new site design.
    The whole thread? That should confuse them!! LOL J/K
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