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July 28

Distance Learning and Your Internet: Back-to-School Info About Online Speed and Connectivity

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legal pad with a pile of wooden letters on it that spell out back to school

With many people staying at home right now, more online users are also turning to their handheld electronic devices for everything from educational distance learning to stay-at-home-entertainment and employment options. This means we're expecting more-and-more from our internet connection and it might not be suited for the challenge of multiple people being online at the same time.

How do we know if our online connection is enough to withstand all that we're asking from it with performance when it comes to our kid's education? What do we need to know about internet speed, online connectivity, and all those tech terms that we may not understand completely? Let's take a quick look at the importance of these options and terms.

What's the Difference Between Mbps, MBps, and Gbps?

It looks like a typo with Mbps (containing a lowercase letter B) and MBps (with an uppercase B) and it's defined differently that way. These are two completely different technological terms. Reviews.org explains it this way: Mbps stands for megabits per second in download speed time which shouldn't be confused with MBps which measures file sizes or amounts of data transferred.

On the other hand, Gbps means gigabits per second. To put this into perspective, one Gbps is equivalent to 1,000 Mbps. These terms are often confusing for those of us who are nerd novices. We often see cellular providers touting bigger and better, 4 and 5 "G" networks and that these services as being faster and more reliable. While this is certainly true, the same can be said for cable providers who offer their customers better, faster, and more reliable internet connections and services. 

What's the Deal With Bandwidth?

Often people are confused about the difference between bandwidth and data when it comes to speed with internet connectivity. In tech terms, bandwidth is a measure of how much data can be sent through a connection in a given amount of time. For example, a gigabit Ethernet connection has a bandwidth of 1,000 Mbps (or 125 megabytes per second) and an internet connection through a typical cable modem may provide 25 Mbps of bandwidth. But there's much to explore with these speeds, data downloads, storage space, and more. 

Can I Test Our Internet Speed?

Absolutely! Visit our homepage, select support, and "test your speed" from the dropdown menu. Click on that enormous GO icon and in less than a minute you'll discover your upload and download speeds in Mbps. You'll also uncover your ping and jitter test figures. You'll want to see the highest possible numbers from the upload and download speeds, however, the lower the ping and jitter figures are, the better. 

How Much Speed Do We Need?

Obviously, as a family unit, the more people connecting to the internet at any given moment in time means the need ... the need ... for speed (insert Top Gun reference here). All this weird math and attempting to understand Mbps bandwidth compared to data download times, content, and upload times as it relates to speed is confusing even for the nerdiest of guardians.

As parents doing our best to provide during a global pandemic, we have plenty of more important things to fill our minds from putting meals on the table to homeschooling our kids. Here's where we can easily understand this concept: More is better. Faster is better. It's better to be safe than sorry before finding yourself in a position where your child is falling behind with the class during distance learning if the connection is faulty, failing, or taking forever to stream content from their instructors and classmates. 

Is Our Current Connection Up to Snuff?

Does your current internet connection tackle all the challenges of homeschooling, gaming, social media, and more all running simultaneously? Don't worry, we've got your back with a back-to-school special with higher speed internet available at a specially discounted rate. Reach out to us on our support page where you can chat with a live service representative (not a robot), find a location near you, email us, or call directly. We're looking forward to hearing from you to answer all your questions on this often confusing topic. 

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