Quick review of the lingo

Broadband: A broad (wide) band of frequencies that allow many different types of traffic to be sent or received at the same time — voice, video, data and TV all on the same connection.

Packets: Small pieces of information (data) on the web that contain the text, images and video you experience on your device. They travel on the information highway as small pieces of a puzzle. You need all the pieces to understand the message. Packet loss is when some packets don’t get where they’re going so you get jittery or inconsistent performance.

Bandwidth: The maximum (width) or capacity of your connection (highway). The greater your bandwidth, the more packets you can send at one time.

Mbps: “Megabits per second” is the unit used for measuring how much data (packets) you are transferring per second. Higher Mbps means more data.

Latency: How long it takes your data to make it to its destination. This varies due to distance (geography), congestion, filters and other circumstances and is represented by the number of (ms) milliseconds when you test your Internet speed.

Peering: No one carrier owns the entire internet. The internet is comprised of many different companies all connecting to each other. Peering is when internet carriers buy connections from each other so they can route traffic to destinations or from destinations no directly connected to the network. Internet congestion typically happens at peering points (like auto interstate on and off ramps).

Routing: It is the process of selecting a path for traffic in a network, or between or across multiple networks.