broadband

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broadband

[′brȯd‚band]
(communications)
A band with a wide range of frequencies.

broadband

(communications)
A class of communication channel capable of supporting a wide range of frequencies, typically from audio up to video frequencies. A broadband channel can carry multiple signals by dividing the total capacity into multiple, independent bandwidth channels, where each channel operates only on a specific range of frequencies.

The term has come to be used for any kind of Internet connection with a download speed of more than 56 kbps, usually some kind of Digital Subscriber Line, e.g. ADSL. A broadband connection is typically always connected, in contrast to a dial-up connection, and a fixed monthly rate is charged, often with a cap on the total amount of data that can be transferred. Domestic broadband connections typically share a telephone line with normal voice calls and the two uses can occur simultaneously without interference.

See also baseband, narrowband.

broadband

(1) High-speed transmission. The term commonly refers to Internet access via a variety of high-speed networks, including cable, DSL, FiOS, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 3G, 4G and satellite, all of which are faster than analog dial-up by a huge magnitude.

The term is sometimes used to contrast broadband providers with private networks, such as in the phrase "public broadband works for regular traffic in our branch offices, but we use private lines for our mission critical business."

A Formal Definition
In early 2015, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) redefined the minimum broadband speed as 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, updating the FCC's 2010 rating of 4 and 1 Mbps. The term always referred to a higher-speed connection, but the broadband threshold varied with the times (years ago, the widely deployed 1.5 Mbps T1 line was considered broadband speed). However, with the 2015 definition, more than 50 million rural Americans do not have access to broadband speeds. See broadband router, wireless broadband, T1, cable modem and DSL.

(2) Transmitting data by modulating a carrier wave in order to differentiate it from other signals in the air or in a wire. For example, frequency division multiplexing (see FDM) is used to carry hundreds of channels digital TV in a single coaxial cable. In this context, broadband is used in contrast with "baseband," which refers to data that have not been modulated or multiplexed (see baseband and TDM). However, in most cases, the term "broadband" means high-speed transmission as in definition #1 above.