Broadband vs Narrowband
In communications, band is referred to as the range of frequencies (bandwidth) used in the channel. Depending on the size of the band (in terms of kHz, MHz or GHz), and some other properties of the communication channel, they can be categorized as narrowband, broadband and wideband etc. In data communication, bandwidth is measured in terms of bit rate (kbps, Mbps etc).
In radio, narrowband communication happens in a frequency range, where the frequency response of the channel is flat (the gain is constant for all the frequencies in the range). Therefore, the band should be smaller than the coherence bandwidth (maximum range of frequencies where channel response is flat), and relatively smaller than broadband range (or wideband), where channel response is not necessarily flat.
In data communication (or internet connections), narrowband is referred to the amount of data being transferred within a second (or bits per second). Dial-up internet connections (where data rate is less than 56 kbps) belong to the narrowband internet category. In dial up connections, computers are connected to internet through a modem and telephone cables.
In radio communications, broadband has the similar meaning to wideband, which has a wider frequency range compared to narrowband. Usually, broadband range exceeds the coherence bandwidth, and therefore doesn’t possess a flat frequency response. Broadband is a relative term, and the size of the band may be in kHz, MHz or GHz depending on the application.
For internet connections, the term ‘broadband’ describes the data rate of the connection. Usually, a broadband connection has a higher bandwidth, in Mbps range, compared to narrowband. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) technologies (such as ADSL and SDSL), HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access), WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) are examples for broadband internet technologies.
What is the difference between Broadband and Narrowband?
1. Narrowband communications use a smaller frequency range (bandwidth) compared to broadband communications.
2. In internet access, broadband technologies provide higher data rate in terms of Mbps, whereas narrowband connections provide slower data rate such as 56 kbps.
3. In radio communications, bandwidth is smaller than the coherence bandwidth of the channel for narrowband, and wider for broadband.