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Performance Measurements: Speed, Bandwidth, Throughput and Latency
(Page 2 of 3)
Throughput is a measure of how much
actual data can be sent per unit of time across a network, channel or
interface. While throughput can be a theoretical term like bandwidth,
it is more often used in a practical sense, for example, to measure
the amount of data actually sent across a network in the real
world. Throughput is limited by bandwidth, or by rated speed:
if an Ethernet network is rated at 100 megabits per second, that's the
absolute upper limit on throughput, even though you will normally get
quite a bit less. So, you may see someone say that they are using 100
Mbps Ethernet but getting throughput of say, 71.9 Mbps on their network.
The terms bandwidth and throughput
are often used interchangeably, even though they are really not exactly
the same, as I just discussed.
Key Concept: The three terms used most often to refer to the overall performance of a network are speed, bandwidth, and throughput. These are related and often used interchangeably, but are not identical. The term speed is the most generic and often refers to the rated or nominal speed of a networking technology. Bandwidth can refer either to the of a frequency band used by a technology, or more generally to data capacity, where it is more of a theoretical measure. Throughput is a specific measure of how much data flows over a channel in a given period of time. It is usually a practical measurement.
This very important, often overlooked
term, refers to the timing of data transfers on a communications
channel or network. One important aspect of latency is how long it takes
from the time a request for data is made until it starts to arrive.
Another aspect is how much control a device has over the timing of the
data that is sent, and whether the network can be arranged to allow
for the consistent delivery of data over a period of time. Low latency
is considered better than high latency.
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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