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Network Speed Test: Calculating Required Bandwidth by Signal Type

Network Speed Test: Calculating Required Bandwidth by Signal Type

Not all communication cables are created equally. And depending on the cable pulled throughout your building, your infrastructure might not support the devices of today and tomorrow. 

This article explores the supported bandwidth of different low voltage cable types, as well as the bandwidth requirements of common network-connected devices and signal formats. 

 

 Standard Twisted Pair Cable

network bandwidth of standard twisted pair cable

0 - 100Mbps. Standard Cat 5 cable supports a maximum transmission bandwidth of 100Mbps, far below the need of commonly used network and AV devices. 

 

 Enhanced Twisted Pair Cable

enhanced twisted pair cable network bandwidth

100Mbps - 1000Mbps. Cat 6 cable supports varying bandwidth and performance depending on the cable distance and path. Short cable lengths (under 50m) can reach speeds over 1G; however, interference will greatly reduce performance.

 

Fiber Optic Cable

fiber optic cable network bandwidth

1000Mbps+. Fiber easily exceeds 10G and, depending on the connected electronics, can deliver up to 10,000 times more bandwidth than twisted pair. Plus, it’s immune to all sources of interference.

 

Network Requirements by Device

Different devices have different network bandwidth requirements. The below chart lists commonly used devices and the minimum required bandwidth per concurrent stream. Actual consumption may vary slightly based on the make and model of the device, as well as the streamed signal format. 

Signal / Device Minimum Required Bandwidth per Concurrent Stream
Streaming Music 1Mbps 
IP Phone 1Mbps
Video Doorbell 2Mbps
IP Security Camera 2Mbps
Online Video Gaming 6Mbps
Streaming Standard Video 5Mbps
Streaming 4K Video 25Mbps
Streaming 8K Video 60Mbps
General Web-enabled Devices 0.2Mbps

 

It is possible to calculate the total bandwidth load on a network by calculating the total number of concurrent devices and their minimum bandwidth draw. 

For example, we can calculate the load for a typical home as follows: 

Signal / Device Number of Concurrent Streams Minimum Required Bandwidth per Stream Total Required Bandwidth
Streaming Music Player 2 1Mbps 2Mbps
IP Phone 4 1Mbps 4Mbps
Video Doorbell 1 2Mbps 2Mbps
IP Security Camera 8 2Mbps 16Mbps
Online Video Gaming 1 6Mbps 6Mbps
Streaming 4K Video 4 25Mbps 100Mbps
Streaming 8K Video  1 60Mbps 60Mbps
Miscellaneous Web-enabled Devices 45  0.2Mbps 9Mbps

 

Assuming all devices are used concurrently, the minimum bandwidth required for this home is 199Mbps. However, in real application, devices have variable use patterns and signal loads. It's very common to see signal spikes, especially when streaming media. 

At a minimum, this infrastructure requires enhanced twisted pair cable; however, longer cable runs and native video transmission will benefit from fiber optic cable. 

4K and 8K video may only require 25 - 60Mbps for streaming; however, they require 18 - 48Gbps once downloaded. Native, uncompressed ultra high-definition video requires a fiber optic connection. 

TechLogix turnkeys fiber optic installations, from cabling to installation accessories to electronics. Learn more at www.tlnetworx.com

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