Glossary of Terms


The part of a telecommunications network that connects the main body of the network with smaller subnetworks.


The maximum capacity of an internet connection (as opposed to the speed). For example, if you have a 100 Mbps internet package, your bandwidth is 100 Mbps, meaning the most data your connection can download at one time is 100 Mbps. Your actual internet speed is likely to be less than your bandwidth most of the time because of network congestion and other external factors. Broadband: any high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than dial-up access.

Download speed:

Refers to how many megabits of data per second (Mbps) it takes to download data from a server in the form of images, videos, text, files, and audio.

Internet Service Provider (ISP):

A company that provides access to the internet to the general public.

Last mile:

The final leg of the telecommunications networks that deliver services to retail end-users (customers). Specifically, the portion of the telecommunications network chain that physically reaches the end-user’s premises.


The amount of delay (or time) it takes to send information from one point to the next. When you put in a request to your internet connection (e.g., search for something on Google, check social media), it sends a signal to the server to retrieve the information and then brings it back to you. Since this usually happens pretty quickly, latency is measured in milliseconds (ms). Also referred to as a ping rate.

LEO satellite:

A low earth orbit (LEO) satellite is a piece of electronic equipment that circles the earth at altitudes of 200-2000 kms. LEO satellites are being used increasingly to deliver wireless internet service (e.g., Starlink). They are much closer to earth than geosynchronous satellites, which orbit the earth at altitudes of 36,000 kms. (An example of geosynchronous satellite internet is Xplornet.) Because LEO satellites are closer to the earth, information can travel to and from them much more quickly, resulting in reduced latency. On the other hand, because LEOs orbit the earth more quickly, they have a reduced range of communication, meaning that more of them are needed to provide the required coverage.


Refers to the invisible radio waves that wireless information travels over. Wireless devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, etc.) use spectrum to transmit information. Different frequencies of spectrum are used to carry other types of information, including television and AM and FM radio. Spectrum is grouped into “bands” based on its frequency. The portion of spectrum used for wireless communication ranges from 20 KHz to 300 GHz. Lower-frequency spectrum travels longer distances with little interruption, whereas higher-frequency spectrum is much faster, but can travel much shorter distances. Spectrum is managed by the CRTC and is allocated to ISPs through auction. Upload speed: refers to how many megabits of data per second (Mbps) it takes to send information from your computer to another device or server on the internet.


Using radio waves, microwaves, etc. (as opposed to wires or cables) to transmit information.


Using cables or data lines, (e.g., fibre optic, cable) to transmit information.

Learn more about APAS