The primary purpose of networking is data transfer. Through the years as the volume of data increased exponentially, the speed of data transfer became a crucial issue. The speed of data transfer is decided by what is called the bandwidth – how wide is the transmission channel; the wider the channel, the faster is the communication. In the beginning very narrow channels were sufficient. Thus, simple modems and telephone lines were sufficient to transfer data. As the volume of data increased, other and faster methods had to be devised which were named Broadband.
Broadband is a form of data transmission on the internet in which multiple ‘packets’ of information are sent simultaneously through various available routes to be assembled together at the user end. The difference between Broadband and narrowband is that the former does the sending and assembling part much faster. Various industry bodies, and national authorities have defined ‘Broadband’ differently; however, 256 kBit/s is the most accepted figure, and any speed above this limit is termed broadband in most areas. This higher limit is supposed to facilitate many higher quality services, among them being voice and video chat, video on demand and audio on demand, and faster P2P file sharing and file downloading speeds, etc.
Problems with technologies and prices prevent unhindered use of such services; most broadband access as existing now is not good enough for streaming video on demand services. However, prices of services are coming down fast and newer technologies are being developed at the same rate – this means that many commercial and technological bottlenecks as existing now may soon be overcome. Broadband uses a number of technologies, among them DSL, ADSL, cable modem, satellite broadband, power-line internet, wireless ISP, T-1/DS-1, etc. Each service is suitable for different purposes, and when availability and prices are taken into consideration, it is difficult to suggest which is the best form of connectivity. As broadband becomes the chief mode of communications, at least in the developed countries, it finds faster acceptance elsewhere as well.