short for: broad bandwidth
This term was originally considered a very technical term, but now most people are aware of it and even, to a certain degree, know what it means. From a layman's point of view, "broadband" refers to the two main types of high-speed Internet service: DSL (which you get from the phone company) or a cable connection (which you get from the cable company). There is also a third type of broadband connection called fiber optic (which can deliver TV channels as well as the Internet).
Technically speaking, broadband is a high-speed, high-capacity data transmission channel that sends and receives information on coaxial cable or fiber-optic cable (which has a wider bandwidth than conventional telephone lines), giving it the ability to carry video, voice, and data simultaneously. As the definition suggests, broadband is primarily used to send different types of signals simultaneously, using the same FDM (Frequency Division Multiplexing) technique used for cable TV. In theory, broadband makes possible a whole new set of Internet applications, such as streaming video, due to speeds up to 20 times as fast as conventional modems. It is measured in kilobits, megabits, or gigabits per second.
All broadband service providers aim for the fastest speed. Faster speeds are clocked as megabits per second (or Mbps). (Note: these terms end in bit, not byte; the latter ending is normally used as measure of storage capacity, not speed.) For example, one megabit equals 1,000 kilobits, so a DSL line that tops out at 768 kilobits per second isn't nearly as fast as one that registers three megabits per second.
Historical perspective: eMarketer estimates that by 2012 there will be over 533 million broadband households worldwide, of which 94.3 million will be in the U.S. A good percentage of these broadband subscribers will also be subscribing to a bundle of services including voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) and Internet protocol TV (IPTV). As a result, and particularly outside the U.S., the term “broadband” is quickly moving beyond just connoting Internet access.
NetLingo Classification: Net Technology
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