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Chapter 49. Internet Basics > What Is Bandwidth?

What Is Bandwidth?

Think of the Internet as a system of pipes that carry data. Little pipes can carry only a small amount of data, but larger pipes can carry more data. Bandwidth refers to the size of the metaphorical pipe, or the amount of data that can be handled at any one time. So more bandwidth not only means that more people can use the Internet at the same time, it also means that people can work with larger files. Text and numbers take up relatively little bandwidth but audio takes up more and video a great deal more. A single photograph can take up as much bandwidth as thousands of words, making the old adage, “a picture's worth a thousand words,” a bit of an understatement.


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