Difference Between Bandwidth and Throughput

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Bandwidth and Throughput

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Networking, or computer networking, is the process of sending data between nodes in an information system through a shared channel. Networking encompasses the design, creation, and use of a network in addition to the administration, maintenance, and use of the network's hardware, software, and protocols. Computer networking enables the connection of devices and endpoints to both smaller networks like local area networks (LANs) and bigger ones like the internet or private wide area networks (WAN). This function is crucial for communicating, using, and sharing resources for service providers, businesses, and clients worldwide. Networking is essential to everything, including phone calls, text messages, streaming videos, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The complexity of a particular network directly relates to the level of expertise needed to operate it. A major organization, for instance, can have thousands of nodes and strict security specifications, such as end-to-end encryption, necessitating the use of expert network administrators to manage the network. On the other hand, with a brief instruction booklet, a layperson may set up and carry out basic troubleshooting for a home Wi-Fi network. Both instances are examples of computer networking.

When assessing the capacity of wired or wireless network communications, networking experts frequently address two equally crucial and equally crucial transmission qualities. The term "bandwidth" is frequently used but not by those who truly grasp what it means. Internet speed and bandwidth are slightly connected. The theoretical capacity for data transmission during a specific period is known as bandwidth. It is concerned with how information is changed in some way. Another phrase referring to Internet speed that is concerned with two-way communication is throughput. What is the relationship between the two terms, and how are they different? Are they similar? Although the two names are frequently confused with one another, they can sometimes be used interchangeably. Throughput and bandwidth are rate measurements that are used to gauge network performance. While throughput refers to an accomplished value, bandwidth mostly refers to a potential peak value. The bandwidth and throughput are equal when the speed of the interfaces and the communications channel is both the same and the sender communicates continuously.

Knowing your network's throughput and bandwidth levels gives you crucial information for evaluating network performance. While bandwidth describes the maximum amount of data that might theoretically be conveyed from a source at any given moment, throughput describes the quantity of data that is delivered from a source at any given time. Administrators need to be aware of how throughput and bandwidth are doing if they want a complete picture of the performance of their network. The ability of a device to transfer data over a network is referred to by the throughput and bandwidth. Throughput and bandwidth differ primarily in that throughput refer to the actual speed at which a device transfers data at any given time, whereas bandwidth refers to the fastest speed at which a device can send data.

Bandwidth vs. Throughput

The specifics are where Bandwidth and Throughput differ most. As, both terms are probably similar, but the difference is that throughput is the actual data transmission from one system to another that are present at different locations, whereas bandwidth is the measure of data transmission from one place that is the source to the other that is a destination in theory calculations.

Difference Between Bandwidth and Throughput in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison



DefinitionTheoretically, bandwidth serves as a gauge for data transfer.The amount of data transmitted is measured by throughput.
UnitsBitsseconds per bit
AffectedNot changedImpacted by physical impediments.
Model OSIUtilizes the physical layerWorks on all layers.
Reliant OnExcluding latencyLatency

What is Bandwidth?

The bandwidth of a channel or Internet connection determines the fastest rate of data transmission for a certain period. The maximum quantity of data that may be transported from one location to another via a specific path is referred to as "bandwidth." Simply said, bandwidth gives us the ability to foresee how long it will take to get a particular piece of information over a particular connection. The bit rate of a link refers to how many bits per second it can send or receive.

Bits are used to estimate the data transfer capacity of computer networks (Bps). The phrase could also be used to describe a user's capacity to complete tasks or exercise careful thought at any given moment. The user's job determines how much bandwidth is needed for uninterrupted internet access. For instance, an instant message chat may use 1,000 bits and 1 kilobit of bandwidth per second. In contrast, an audio dialogue using voice-over computer lines is transmitted at 56 kilobits per second (Kbps). Since its introduction in 1994, the Internet has developed from a novel instrument primarily intended to link government research institutions to an integral component of daily life. According to sources, 0.68 per cent of people on the earth had access to the internet in 1995. 2 More than half of the world's population would be online by 2019. Nowadays, people use the internet to communicate, make purchases, earn money, learn new things, and have fun. The technology's overall bandwidth needs have increased significantly as it has evolved to become more efficient, crowded, and content-heavy over time.

The amount of data that could move across a network, from a source to a destination, in a specific amount of time is measured as bandwidth. Throughput describes the actual performance of a network, whereas bandwidth describes the greatest potential or capacity of a network. Bandwidth indicates the speed at which a network could reliably carry data packets to recipients rather than the actual rate at which packets arrive at a destination. This metric is commonly measured in bits per second (bit/s or bps), megabits per second (Mbps), or gigabits per second (Mbps) (Gbps). The throughput of a network is measured in terms of its bandwidth, or the maximum throughput it is capable of supporting. A network can transport and deliver more data across devices at once when it has higher bandwidth. Because of this, a large bandwidth could provide users with advantages like fast internet and quick downloads. Some networks offer wide bandwidth data transfer capabilities because they are broadband. They feature faster internet connections than standard analogue services and are capable of carrying a variety of signals and traffic types over a variety of technologies.

How to Increase Bandwidth Usage?

Although throughput and bandwidth have certain similarities, focussing your efforts on specifically enhancing each will help your network systems create long-lasting benefits. If you want to know if your bandwidth is enough to satisfy your organization's needs, you can employ software and data monitoring. If not, use these steps to solve your bandwidth issues:

Change The Criteria For Your Service Quality

By modifying the quality-of-service settings, you can instruct your router. Adjust your network as necessary to provide the most important data and traffic the top priority. This allows for sufficient bandwidth for programs that demand a lot of upkeep.

Take Into Account Utilizing Cloud-based Software

Consider employing cloud-based software to manage massive amounts of data. By outsourcing traffic to outside businesses, you can relieve network load and boost speed and efficiency. Other advantages, including data security, might be attained as well.

Reduce Unnecessary Traffic

During working hours, you might want to ban particular traffic or websites, such as streaming and video apps. Large quantities of bandwidth can be used by these types of apps, leaving little capacity for crucial software. You may encourage workers to use bandwidth for crucial business processes in this way.

Plan When To Perform Backups And Upgrades

The usage of a lot of bandwidth by backups, upgrades, and similar operations might cause the network to run slowly or even shut down some network functions. These software updates and other maintenance procedures must be carried out outside regular business hours. Employees can then utilize all of the applications' features when they need them for work.

What is Throughput?

Throughput measures the number of packets that reach their destinations effectively. Although it can also be stated as data per second, throughput capacity is often expressed in bits per second. The high-performance service provided by a network depends on packet arrival. When using programs or software, people anticipate that their requests will be heard and responded to promptly. Low throughput suggests problems like packet loss, and packet loss causes sluggish network performance.

In communication networks such as Ethernet and packet radio, throughput—also known as network throughput—is the rate of effective message transmission via a communication channel. These messages' data may be sent over a logical and physical connection, or it may pass through a network node. Although throughput is typically stated in bits per second, it can also be done so in terms of data packets per second and data packets per time interval. System throughput and aggregate throughput are terms used to describe the sum of the data rates supplied to all endpoints in a network. It is possible to statistically analyse throughput using the queueing theory, where the load in packets per time unit is designated as the arrival rate and the throughput is marked as the departure rate. Throughput and digital bandwidth utilization are equal. The throughput of a communication system can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the limitations of the underlying analogue physical medium, the components' available computational power, and end-user behaviour. The practical rate of transferred data may be significantly lower than the highest throughput possible when protocol overheads are taken into account; this is referred to as goodput.

The amount of data that moves across a network in a predetermined length of time is known as throughput, also known as data transfer rate. It refers specifically to the frequency with which data packets or messages effectively reach their intended target. Bits per second (bit/s or bps) or data packets per second (p/s or PPS) are frequently used as the unit of measurement for this statistic. As it can assist in identifying the reasons for a bad or slow connection, measuring throughput is a tool to evaluate, troubleshoot, and enhance network performance. Network users want to receive dependable responses as soon as possible after making requests, such as viewing a website, using an application, placing a call, or downloading a file. Work tasks can be completed by employees efficiently and with focus thanks to working high-speed networks. A network with high throughput transmits a lot of data per second, responds quickly to user requests, and operates effectively in general. A network with low throughput does not transmit a lot of data per second. It is a sign of subpar network performance and may be brought on by excessive levels of jitter, packet loss, and delay.

How to Boost Throughput

Compile Data

The initial step in optimizing a variety of processes is data collection. Use software tools to monitor the throughput of your networks over time. You might check to see whether your throughput is particularly slow at any certain times. With this information, you can assess how well your network is currently running and develop workable strategies to improve network functionality and design.

Identify Issues

After assessing your throughput rates, look for the underlying causes. Here are several possibilities:

Network latency is the amount of time it takes for packets to travel between sources and destinations through a network. This can be expressed as a one-way data transfer time or a round-trip time. A high rate of latency indicates that data transfer across your network occurs slowly. Because of this, users may have to wait for a lengthy period after making requests. Ideal latency levels result in highly satisfied users. Optimizing your throughput requires cutting down on latency.

Difference between Bandwidth and Throughput In Points

  • In theoretical calculations, bandwidth is a measure of data movement from one source to another destination, whereas throughput is the actual data transmission from one system to another located at various locations.
  • While bandwidth is measured in bits, throughput is measured in bits per second.
  • While bandwidth is a theoretical amount that is unaffected by anything, throughput is affected by physical obstructions.
  • While bandwidth in the OSI model only functions with the physical layer, throughput in the model functions with all layers.
  • Although bandwidth is not impacted by or dependent on latency, throughput is.


The theoretical capacity for data transmission during a specific period is known as bandwidth. It is concerned with how information is changed in some way. On the other hand, throughput, which is concerned with communication between two entities, is somewhat similar to but slightly different from bandwidth. Throughput is a measure of actual accomplished value, whereas bandwidth refers to a potential value. Despite the frequent confusion between the two names, they can sometimes be used interchangeably. Both performance measures are additionally used to gauge network performance.

Despite their superficial resemblance, throughput and bandwidth have quite different uses. The most frequent analogy used to describe how they relate to one another is throughput as water and bandwidth as a conduit. More data can run through a pipe at once the more bandwidth and water it has. In other words, bandwidth determines how many packets may be delivered and retrieved simultaneously between devices, whereas throughput specifies how many packets are transmitted within a network. To put it another way, while throughput measures the actual amount of data that is successfully transferred, bandwidth measures the number of data packets that could be transferred. As a result, throughput rather than bandwidth serves as a superior gauge of network performance.


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"Difference Between Bandwidth and Throughput." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 01 Mar. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-bandwidth-and-throughput-885>.

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