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What is the difference between narrowband and broadband?

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Quick Answer

The difference between narrowband and broadband is that narrowband communications use a smaller bandwidth range than wideband communications. Additionally, in terms of access to the Internet, narrowband connections provide data at a slower rate, while broadband connections offer a higher data rate. Narrowband and broadband, or wideband, are terms which refer to the amount of bandwidth used to transfer information.

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Full Answer

Both narrowband and broadband frequencies are expressed in terms of band size. Kilohertz, or kHz, megaherz, or MHz, and gigahertz, or GHz, are the common terms of bandwidth measurement.

Dial-up Internet connections are an example of narrowbands connection, as data is transferred at less than 56 kilobytes per second. Dial-up connections use a modem and telephone cables to connect to the Internet. Broadband Internet connections can accommodate bandwidth greater than 50 megabytes per second.

Narrowband, with respect to radio operations, takes the same volume of information and passes it through a much smaller stream. This cuts down on lost signal and generally improves the quality of the information on the receiving end. Alternately, television broadcasts differ yet again. Even though they are still using radio waves to transmit, these services are sending much more information, making wideband technology essential to the end user's reception quality.

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