Bandwidth is a measure of how much information can be sent over a network concurrently. Think of it like a garden hose. The larger the hose, the more water can flow through it. Bandwidth is shared by all the connected devices.
Most businesses have an Internet connection that has a different download bandwidth than upload bandwidth. This is not a significant concern for companies with a single location. However, if you have more than one office and need to share information between locations, you might be in for a disappointing surprise.
Internet connections come in two varieties as it relates to bandwidth. Those are symmetrical and asymmetrical.
The asymmetrical is the most common and where the provider gives you more download bandwidth than upload. This is a great solution for consumers and home users where most of the Internet activity involves downloading information, like streaming a movie.
When a business has multiple locations sharing information, a symmetrical Internet connection, where download and upload bandwidth are equal, is more desirable.
SOME QUICK ALPHABET SOUP
Network speeds are measured in bits, not bytes. Bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps). Megabytes per second (MBps) refers to a unit of measurement for file size. Megabits per second (Mbps) represents the bit capacity of a network connection. (More info here)
When the offices exchange information, one is downloading and the other is uploading, but the information will be transferred using the lower of the two bandwidth factors (fewer lanes). The information flowing between the two locations travels at 10 Mbps between the locations.
You have likely experienced this issue in your personal use of the Internet and resources like social media.
WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Bandwidth needs vary from business to business and it is best to have a professional assess your needs. If you know your business will regularly access information resources between your multiple offices, do consider investing in symmetrical Internet connections.
The other option is to use an asymmetrical connection, but ensure that the upload bandwidth is large enough to accommodate your needs. Some providers are now offering asymmetrical connections with 100Mb upload speeds, which should accommodate most multi-site business needs.
(Need a refresher on Bandwidth vs Latency? Read this past article.)