Definition of Low Bandwidth Internet

By Andrea Stein

Most of us use the Internet on a frequent basis. We typically connect to the Internet on our personal computers via a service provider. Depending on the service or plan, the Internet connection can be high bandwidth or low bandwidth.


Bandwidth is the capacity or amount of data that can transmit over an electronic channel during a specific period of time. Low bandwidth is a type of bandwidth classified by bit rate, or bits per second. A bit, or binary digit, represents one basic unit of digital information.


Low bandwidth services, such as dial-up Internet, typically are limited to a bit rate of less than 56 kbit/s, or kilobits per second, and may require a dedicated phone line for connection. A kilobit is equal to 1,000 bits. In contrast, high bandwidth or broadband Internet can transmit over multiple channels that have frequency capacities measured in megahertz (one million cycles per second) or kilohertz (one thousand cycles per seconds).


A low bandwidth Internet connection typically does not allow for uninterrupted streaming media or streaming audio. File downloads and uploads also are significantly slower for low bandwidth Internet connections than high bandwidth Internet or broadband.