In telecommunications, broadband is wide bandwidth data transmission
which transports multiple signals and traffic types. The medium can be
coaxial cable, optical fiber, radio or twisted pair.
In the context of Internet access, broadband is used to mean any
Internet access that is always on and faster than dial-up
access over traditional analog or
ISDN PSTN services.
2.2 Computer networks
2.3 TV and video
2.4 Alternative technologies
3 Internet broadband
3.1 Global bandwidth concentration
4 See also
Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts
and at different times. Its origin is in physics, acoustics, and radio
systems engineering, where it had been used with a meaning similar to
"wideband". Later, with the advent of digital
telecommunications, the term was mainly used for transmission over
multiple channels. Whereas a passband signal is also modulated so that
it occupies higher frequencies (compared to a baseband signal which is
bound to the lowest end of the spectrum, see line coding), it is still
occupying a single channel. The key difference is that what is
typically considered a broadband signal in this sense is a signal that
occupies multiple (non-masking, orthogonal) passbands, thus allowing
for much higher throughput over a single medium but with additional
complexity in the transmitter/receiver circuitry.
The term became popularized through the 1990s as a marketing term for
Internet access that was faster than dialup access, the original
Internet access technology, which was limited to a maximum bandwidth
of 56 kbit/s. This meaning is only distantly related to its original
In telecommunications, a broadband signaling method is one that
handles a wide band of frequencies. "Broadband" is a relative term,
understood according to its context. The wider (or broader) the
bandwidth of a channel, the greater the data-carrying capacity, given
the same channel quality.
In radio, for example, a very narrow band will carry Morse code, a
broader band will carry speech, and a still broader band will carry
music without losing the high audio frequencies required for realistic
sound reproduction. This broad band is often divided into channels or
"frequency bins" using passband techniques to allow frequency-division
multiplexing instead of sending a higher-quality signal.
In data communications, a
56k modem will transmit a data rate of 56
kilobits per second (kbit/s) over a 4-kilohertz-wide telephone line
(narrowband or voiceband). In the late 1980s, the
Services Digital Network (B-ISDN) used the term to refer to a broad
range of bit rates, independent of physical modulation details. The
various forms of digital subscriber line (DSL) services are broadband
in the sense that digital information is sent over multiple channels.
Each channel is at higher frequency than the baseband voice channel,
so it can support plain old telephone service on a single pair of
wires at the same time. However, when that same line is converted
to a non-loaded twisted-pair wire (no telephone filters), it becomes
hundreds of kilohertz wide (broadband) and can carry up to 100
megabits per second using very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line
(VDSL or VHDSL) techniques.
Many computer networks use a simple line code to transmit one type of
signal using a medium's full bandwidth using its baseband (from zero
through the highest frequency needed). Most versions of the popular
Ethernet family are given names such as the original 1980s
indicate this. Networks that use cable modems on standard cable
television infrastructure are called broadband to indicate the wide
range of frequencies that can include multiple data users as well as
traditional television channels on the same cable.
usually use a different radio frequency modulated by the data signal
for each band.
The total bandwidth of the medium is larger than the bandwidth of any
10BROAD36 broadband variant of
Ethernet was standardized by 1985,
but was not commercially successful.
DOCSIS standard became available to consumers in the late 1990s,
Internet access to cable television residential customers.
Matters were further confused by the fact that the
Ethernet ratified in 2008 used DSL technology, and both cable and
DSL modems often have
Ethernet connectors on them.
TV and video
A television antenna may be described as "broadband" because it is
capable of receiving a wide range of channels, while a
single-frequency or Lo-VHF antenna is "narrowband" since it receives
only 1 to 5 channels. The U.S. federal standard FS-1037C defines
"broadband" as a synonym for wideband. "Broadband" in analog video
distribution is traditionally used to refer to systems such as cable
television, where the individual channels are modulated on carriers at
fixed frequencies. In this context, baseband is the term's
antonym, referring to a single channel of analog video, typically in
composite form with separate baseband audio. The act of
demodulating converts broadband video to baseband video. Fiber optic
allows the signal to be transmitted farther without being repeated.
Cable companies use a hybrid system using fiber to transmit the signal
to neighborhoods and then changes the signal from light to radio
frequency to be transmitted to over coaxial cable to homes. Doing so
reduces the use of having multiple head ends. A head end gathers all
the information from the local cable networks and movie channels and
then feeds the information into the system.
However, "broadband video" in the context of streaming Internet video
has come to mean video files that have bit-rates high enough to
Internet access for viewing. "
Broadband video" is
also sometimes used to describe
Video on demand.
Power lines have also been used for various types of data
communication. Although some systems for remote control are based on
narrowband signaling, modern high-speed systems use broadband
signaling to achieve very high data rates. One example is the ITU-T
G.hn standard, which provides a way to create a local area network up
to 1 Gigabit/s (which is considered high-speed as of 2014) using
existing home wiring (including power lines, but also phone lines and
In 2014, researchers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and
Technology made developments on the creation of ultra-shallow
broadband optical instruments.
Main article: Internet access
In the context of Internet access, the term "broadband" is used
loosely to mean "access that is always on and faster than the
traditional dial-up access".
While fiber optics are generally faster than wireless broadband,
wireless broadband also has the potential to grow rapidly, as it
provides access not only in a fixed location but anywhere. The
extremely high bandwidth of fiber may not be the key aspect for the
majority of the customers.
A range of more precise definitions of speed have been prescribed at
"Greater than the primary rate" (which ranged from about 1.5 to 2
Mbit/s) - CCITT in "broadband service" in 1988.
Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional
dial-up access" —US National
Broadband Plan of 2009
4 Mbit/s downstream, 1 Mbit/s upstream - FCC, 2010
25 Mbit/s downstream, 3 Mbit/s upstream - FCC, 2015
Broadband Internet service in the United States was effectively
treated or managed as a public utility by net neutrality rules until
being overturned by the FCC in December, 2017.
Global bandwidth concentration
Global bandwidth concentration: 3 countries have almost 50% between
them; 10 countries almost 75%
Bandwidth has historically been very unequally distributed worldwide,
with increasing concentration in the digital age. Historically only 10
countries have hosted 70-75 % of the global telecommunication
capacity (see pie-chart Figure on the right). In 2014, only 3
countries (China, US, Japan) host 50% of the globally installed
telecommunication bandwidth potential. The U.S. lost its global
leadership in terms of installed bandwidth in 2011, being replaced by
China, which hosts more than twice as much national bandwidth
potential in 2014 (29% versus 13% of the global total).
Broadband mapping in the United States
National broadband plans from around the world
Broadband Providers in the US
Broadband Providers in Malaysia
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