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Telecommunications. the smallest range of frequencies constituting a band within which a particular signal can be transmitted without distortion.
Digital Technology. the transmission capacity of an electronic communications device or system; the speed of data transfer:
a high-bandwidth Internet connection.
mental capacity; intelligence:
Don’t listen to him—he has really low bandwidth.
a person’s capacity to handle or think about more than one thing at the same time:
He doesn’t have the bandwidth to make those kinds of decisions.
Contemporary Examples

The broader point is that we need, constantly, to recalibrate our bandwidth of stoicism.
Stop Punishing Fliers Tunku Varadarajan December 27, 2009

Users also require the bandwidth and patience to download large files (Flames of War is nearly a gigabyte).
ISIS Is Winning the Online Jihad Against the West Ali Fisher, Nico Prucha September 30, 2014

Unlike AT&T, which is still rationing its bandwidth, Verizon wants customers to become increasingly dependent on its connection.
Google’s Better iPhone Douglas Rushkoff October 5, 2009

If he doesn’t know about content management systems and bandwidth, he’d better learn.
Can Obama Change? Michael Tomasky November 14, 2013

The video is also recorded locally and uploaded to a cloud server when bandwidth permits for later review.
Navy SEAL Helmet Cams: Obama Watched bin Laden Raid Video Ian Yarett May 5, 2011

Since bandwidth has become reasonable, paying extra for it feels like a backwards move.
Porn Fights For Your Right to Surf: Pornhub, YouPorn, and Redtube Lead Charge For Net Neutrality Aurora Snow September 12, 2014

And the press will never find the bandwidth explain to people what’s actually happening.
GOP Liars Matthew Yglesias March 4, 2010

Changes like this pose a huge threat to the adult entertainment industry—an industry that eats up a ton of bandwidth.
Porn Fights For Your Right to Surf: Pornhub, YouPorn, and Redtube Lead Charge For Net Neutrality Aurora Snow September 12, 2014

Historical Examples

Many-to-many communication is not just a matter of bandwidth on digital networks, but of self-definition, also.
The Civilization of Illiteracy Mihai Nadin

the range of frequencies within a given waveband used for a particular transmission
the range of frequencies over which a receiver or amplifier should not differ by more than a specified amount
the range of frequencies used in a specific telecommunications signal

1930, in electronics, from band (n.1) + width.
(bānd’wĭdth’, -wĭth’)

The numerical difference between the upper and lower frequencies of a band of electromagnetic radiation, especially an assigned range of radio frequencies.

The amount of data that can be passed along a communications channel in a given period of time. For analog devices, such as standard telephones, bandwith is the range of frequencies that can be transmitted and is expressed in hertz (cycles per second). For digital devices, bandwidth is measured in bits per second. The wider the bandwidth, the faster data can be sent.

The amount of data that can be carried by a digital communication medium, often expressed in hertz.

Note: Within the radio and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum limited bandwidth is available, and in the United States the use of the spectrum is regulated and allocated by the FCC. (See VHF and UHF.)

The difference between the highest and lowest frequencies of a transmission channel (the width of its allocated band of frequencies).
The term is often used erroneously to mean data rate or capacity – the amount of data that is, or can be, sent through a given communications circuit per second.
[How is data capacity related to bandwidth?]
[Jargon File]


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