[Air-L] broadband/narrow band

Barry Wellman wellman at chass.utoronto.ca
Tue Jul 1 15:30:34 PDT 2008

The "band" in broadband stands for bandwidth.

Once upon a time, when I was only 35, there was only POTS (plain old
telephone service) to transmit the internet (and its precursors like
Bitnet) very slowly (I remember 11 characters per second). Although POTS
got faster until it was good enough for reading email in almost-real time:
256Kb/second as I recall.

It wasn't until new technologies came along to transmit information much
more quickly through not-so-plain phone wires, cable and then satellite.
This made it possible to read without cursing our current graphics-heavy
web sites. (And to download stuff quickly, instead of overnight.)

In comparison to the narrow bandwith of POTS (narrowband), the new
technologies collectively became known as "broadband".

Want to know more? I'm "sure" Wikipedia has it for you.

Limping along these days at 500kB (note capital B), but soon to upgrade to

 Barry Wellman

  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC              NetLab Director
  Department of Sociology                        University of Toronto
  725 Spadina Avenue, Room 388                  Toronto Canada M5S 2J4
  http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman            fax:+1-416-978-3963
  Updating history:     http://chass.utoronto.ca/oldnew/cybertimes.php
         Elvis wouldn't be singing "Return to Sender" these days
                       *** HAPPY CANADA DAY ***

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