A Little Internet History
In the beginning, everyone used their phone line and a modem to connect to the
Internet. While the computer was using the line, it couldn’t be used for voice
As Internet use became more widespread, people wanted to be connected to the
Internet more often and for longer periods. Initially this meant that people
would lease a second phone line and dedicate it to use for their PC. But of
course this added cost, and it was still capable of a max speed of only about
56Kb/s(kilo bits per second) - so it was slow.
As the Internet became more graphical and colourful and with the introduction
of video and on-line TV, dial up connections started to feel very slow. (max
So companies started to offer “broad-band” connections.
The term broad-band, comes from the concept of bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to
the amount of data you can send through an electronic cable. Think of a
electronic cable, as if it was a hose, and the data was the water. A skinny
household hose can deliver, say... 6 litres of water a minute. A fireman’s hose
can deliver thousands of litres a minute. Data works the same way - the bigger
the hose, the more data you can jam through it in the same period of time. So
bandwidth is measure of the size of the electronic pipe, and is measured
in kilo-bits per second. Or Kb/sec.
So a broad-band connection is a wide (broad) pipe.
Initial broad-band connections were 256KB/s - this was considered fast, but as
the technology evolved, faster and faster speeds became possible. Speeds of up
to 6000Kb/sec are now possible from home.