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What bandwidth do I need for my applications?

Bandwidth high enough? This is how much speed you need in your company in everyday digital life.


Faster internet - that's what everyone wants. But how fast does a connection have to be - is 16 MBit/s bandwidth enough, or does 1000 MBit/s make sense? And what exactly does bandwidth mean? UPC Business explains.

Foto: Sunrise UPC GmbH - Screenshot

Staring at a blank page with a rotating hourglass in the web browser for what feels like an eternity? Interruptions on Netflix? Voices that sound like robots when skyping? Anyone who has experienced this - and everyone has - knows that the internet connection is too slow. Fortunately, such annoyances are becoming rarer. In Switzerland, for example, the average bandwidth is just under 30 Mbps. That's OK for surfing and sending e-mails, but it's still not great - in Singapore, as well as in Sweden and Denmark, surfing is much faster. In Switzerland, too, there are now connections with 1000 MBit/s (1 MBit/s = 1 million bits per second).


Bandwidth: What does that mean?

And how much of it do you need for which application? First of all, a definition of the term: bandwidth indicates how many of the smallest digital data units, the bits, are transmitted per second via a line or by radio. However, this is not quite correct. More precisely, bandwidth refers to the usable frequency range of a transmission medium, and both values are related. The correct definition is more something for engineers anyway. For customers at home or in companies, only one thing counts: the value should be as high as possible.

Exactly how high depends on what the internet connection is used for. Here are some examples of applications and how much bandwidth they require:


This is how much bandwidth you need for:

  • E-mail: 1 MBit/s or more when sending large file attachments

  • Music streaming: 6 MBit/s

  • Surfing: 10 MBit/s. Image-heavy pages in particular devour bandwidth

  • VoIP: 16 MBit/s (or more if webcam images are also transmitted)

  • Internet TV (e.g. Netflix): 6 MBit/s (Full-HD), 20 MBit/s (4K)

  • Online games: >100 MBit/s for multiplayer games

At first glance, the basic tariffs of the internet service providers are sufficient. They offer a few ten MBit/s bandwidth. However, if several people or applications access the internet at the same time, for example in an SME, the bandwidth can quickly become scarce. This is fatal if a micro-entrepreneur has a video conference with an important customer, while her partner watches a film on Netflix in the same WLAN and her son starts an online game on his mobile phone.


This is almost certain to lead to disruptions in the video call. SMEs and freelancers in particular, who receive telephone (professional and private), internet and TV via one line and one contract, are therefore well advised not to run out of bandwidth. They often work on their PCs with software that accesses the Internet unnoticed.


Caution: Applications in the background reduce the speed

Some programmes, such as online accounting software or collaboration tools like Asana, no longer run on the PC, but in the cloud, as do backup services like Google Drive or Onedrive. There is always a lot of data traffic in the background, not only when downloading, i.e. receiving data from the internet, but also when uploading, i.e. sending data to the cloud.

You are therefore on the safe side with tariffs with several hundred MBit/s, which are already available for moderate costs with a cable connection from UPC Business. Compared to DSL connections via the telephone line, they offer a high bandwidth in the upload. One example is our Business 600 tariff, which offers a rapid 600 Mbit/s download and a very fast 60 Mbit/s upload - enough for SMEs that run their business digitally.


Slow Internet? Test your speed!

There are some differences in bandwidths. If your Internet speed seems too sluggish, you can do a speed test.

Pay attention not only to the bandwidth, but also to the ping value. This indicates how long it takes from sending a data packet to receiving a reply from the Internet. However, the Internet provider is not always to blame for the snail's pace; a slow WLAN router and poor reception conditions in the house can also be the cause.


Fast Internet for your company

Whether it's e-mail traffic, video conferencing or data storage in the cloud:

With UPC-Business you can find the right Internet subscription for your needs.

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