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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  Networking Fundamentals
      9  Network Performance Issues and Concepts

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Balancing Network Performance with Key Non-Performance Characteristics
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Understanding Performance Measurement Units
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Performance Measurements: Speed, Bandwidth, Throughput and Latency
(Page 2 of 3)

Throughput

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.


Latency

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.


Previous Topic/Section
Balancing Network Performance with Key Non-Performance Characteristics
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
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2
3
Next Page
Understanding Performance Measurement Units
Next Topic/Section

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