Bandwidth – what is it anyhow? (March 1997)

For those of you who may be new to the game, or need a reminder of that long-forgotten course in information theory, bandwidth is the capacity to move information around.

Bandwidth can be measured in the frequency domain, so that a high capacity ATM link will be capable of transmitting some 155 Megabits per second. Note a potential confusion here, the computing world thinks in bytes (8 bits) whereas the telecommunications world is more economical with their bandwidth, meting it out in individual bits. The information content of a message is the product of bandwidth and time, so that you can overcome bandwidth limitations if you are prepared to wait. This may be acceptable for archival purposes, but on a seismic boat, recording has to be performed at high speed in real time.

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