Unlike many other crypto currencies, STEEM does not charge a transaction fee from users. Witnesses that run the servers for these transactions are paid from the blockchain to compensate operation costs. Developers and exchanges have to pay their infrastructure costs from their own pocket. Increased transaction rates increases operation costs for them. In order to prevent "unreasonable amounts of transactions" , the concept of bandwidth was introduced.
Each operation a user does on the blockchain consumes a certain fraction of his bandwidth. The bandwidth of each account is directly proportional to his STEEM Power. The overall bandwidth allowance per user scales with the load on the blockchain. In times of high network load, accounts with low STEEM Power may not be able to interact with the blockchain. The bandwidth of each account is shown for example on Steemd.
The Steem network has gotten very busy recently with all the increased use, so some users are occasionally bumping into bandwidth limits. The more transactions a user does, the less bandwidth they will have left (until it recharges). If they pass their limit, or the network gets busy and their limit is reduced - they may be unable to transact until the limit is raised, or their bandwidth recharges. This will primarly affect users with a small amount of Steem Power.
- Steem Blue Paper Published in Steem.io, retrieved in January 9th, 2018
- Steem Bandwidth - User Experience Issue Written by Tim Cliff (@timcliff), published on January 9th, 2018
- @rycharde : Why Are So Many Users Hitting Their Bandwidth Limit? Solved It! What You Can Do. July 17, 2017
- @sflaherty : -400% Bandwidth? Not Getting Answers but Is There Something Wrong With My Account Due to Delegating SP? July 18, 2017
- @reggaemuffin : Bandwidth Limit Exceeded? How Witnesses Help You. July 19, 2017
- @mohsan0073 : What is Bandwidth? On Steemit August 4, 2017
- @casberp : Bandwidth Problem Suggestion (pt-en) August 8, 2017
- @prc : Waking-up in PANIC: 0% bandwidth and back to 25 reputation... WTH?! January 9, 2018
- @jamzed : What is behind the Steem bandwidth issues... January 14, 2018
- @elautomatico : 2018.03 Steemit Bandwidth available calculator January 15, 2018
- @alexvan : Delegation against bandwith problem January 30, 2018
- @vivekkanade : What is Bandwidth? On Steemit January 31, 2018
- Bountysource : steemit/steem » Steem Power Delegation for Voting and Bandwidth Written by Bytemaster, published in 1/20/2017
- Smith + Crown : How does Steem.it (sic) work? Written by Matt Chwierut, published in 7/22/2016
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If you're already a steemian you can be rewarded with steem, see how in @steemcenterwiki.