What Is Dedicated Bandwidth?

By Chris Joseph

The amount of bandwidth can make the difference between a computer connection featuring instantaneous speed or one that moves intolerably slowly. For maximum speed and reliability, an Internet service provider offering dedicated bandwidth is usually the best choice. However, dedicated bandwidth may not always be the most cost-effective method available.

Bandwidth Identification

Bandwidth refers to the volume of data that can be sent at one time through a computer network or Internet connection. In the case of the Internet, for instance, using service provided by DSL or cable modem normally offers more bandwidth than if you use a dial-up connection where you access the Internet through a telephone line. The greater the amount of bandwidth, the more data can transmit through it at a given time, resulting in a faster connection.

Types of Bandwidth

Bandwidth can either be shared or dedicated. Shared bandwidth means that a specific segment of bandwidth is spread among numerous users. The cable Internet connection that many people have in their homes is an example of shared bandwidth. Dedicated bandwidth means that portions of bandwidth are set aside for specified users without having to share it with others. Large institutions with expansive computer networks where Internet use is heavy often find dedicated bandwidth more suitable for their needs.

Dedicated Bandwidth Advantages

Dedicated bandwidth offers certain advantages. Users have access to more reliable services, such as having the same downloading and uploading speeds and capabilities at all times, with no slowing of response during typical peak use periods, and no limit on the amount of data that can be transferred. For businesses that rely on providing online service to their customers, such as those in e-commerce, having dedicated bandwidth can eliminate problems such as a slow ordering or purchasing process, and result in more satisfied customers.

Dedicated Bandwidth Disadvantages

The major disadvantage of dedicated bandwidth service is that it is much more expensive that a shared bandwidth service. In some cases, users may actually be paying for much more bandwidth than they actually use or need, making it a waste of money. Smaller businesses that incur heavy Internet use, such as coffee shops offering wireless hotspots, may not be able to afford the dedicated bandwidth service necessary to provide the most reliable Internet access for their customers.