In general, broadband refers to telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information.

Also see bandwidth.

In general, broadband refers to telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. Because a wide band of frequencies is available, information can be multiplexed and sent on many different frequencies or channels within the band concurrently, allowing more information to be transmitted in a given amount of time (much as more lanes on a highway allow more cars to travel on it at the same time). Related terms are wideband (a synonym), baseband (a one-channel band), and narrowband (sometimes meaning just wide enough to carry voice, or simply "not broadband," and sometimes meaning specifically between 50 cps and 64 Kpbs).

Various definers of broadband have assigned a minimum data rate to the term. Here are a few:

  • Newton's Telecom Dictionary: "...greater than a voice grade line of 3 KHz...some say [it should be at least] 20 KHz."
  • Jupiter Communications: at least 256 Kbps.
  • IBM Dictionary of Computing: A broadband channel is "6 MHz wide."

It is generally agreed that Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and cable TV are broadband services in the downstream direction.


Getting started with broadband
To learn more about broadband, here are additional resources
Global broadband changes fiber game throughout networks: This guide looks at optical design for different parts of the networks as broadband connections spread.
Wireless broadband deployment: Calculating bit density: When looking at wireless broadband deployment, geographic population density must be weighed against bandwidth limitations to plan what services the chosen technology can support.
Broadband traffic management: Finding rational solutions to ease congestion: Now that broadband services are nearly ubiquitous and bandwidth is widely available, telecom service providers need to find above-board solutions for dealing with bandwidth congestion and abuse by adopting traffic management plans that provide users with clear options and mitigate bandwidth congestion caused by applications like peer-to-peer (P2P) computing.

This was first published in July 2007

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