If you want a convenient internet connection, chances are you’re thinking about getting a wireless internet connection from your local ISP. The great thing about getting online is that all you really need to do is call a company or visit their web site to get connected – you don’t necessarily need to know the technical terms involved with your chosen connection. Or do you?

Knowing a bit about your internet connection can not only help you decide on a speed – it can also help you to save money by helping you limit your usage so that you stay under imposed data caps on your service.

Data caps exist because internet companies have to pay for the expensive bandwidth they give their customers. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred over a connection. If a customer pays for a certain amount of bandwidth in a month (data cap) and goes over that limit, extra charges from the internet provider will often be the result.

So how is bandwidth measured? You may have seen something like this when looking at plans from internet providers:

Gold Package

$25.99

512 Kbps to 1.0Mbps

 Kbps stands for ‘kilobits per second’, where Mbps stands for ‘megabits per second’.  While you will only normally be dealing with these two measurements when choosing a wireless provider, it may help to know speed measurements from slowest to fastest, and the numbers they represent:

 

Bytes (bps or “b”)
Kilobytes (kbps or “kb”)
Megabytes (Mbps or “mb”)
Gigabytes (GB)
1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte (kb).
1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte (mB)
1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte (GB)
1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte (TB) 

 

If your head is spinning after all of those numbers, the following chart will help to break down internet speeds in terms of the online activities you can engage in without any slowdowns of your speed:

 

With A Speed Of You Can Enjoy
384 kbps Basic emailing and web surfing, such as news and weather sites, and instant text-only messaging
512 kbps Online shopping sites and banking, medium-sized file downloading and low-quality videos
1.0 Mbps Sending and receiving images and small files via email, downloading music, viewing of high-quality video, auction sites, frequent web surfing
5.0 Mbps Sending and receiving large images and files via email, downloading movies, online gaming, viewing of high-quality streaming video

 

For most people, basing their chosen home or mobile internet service on usage is the simplest way to get the internet they want at a price they can afford. Using online resources to compare companies can also help you to see which companies are offering discounts on their service and free equipment. Most often, these types of deals are offered only to those who subscribe to internet service via an ISP’s web site.

The internet is full of valuable information that you can use to educate yourself about all forms of internet service. Doing a little bit of reading now can not only help you understand the terms you’re dealing with, but can also help you to make an informed decision about service.