Throughput Vs Bandwidth: Differences And Optimisation Steps
Updated 1 September 2023
Though they assess separate features of a network, the concepts of throughput and bandwidth relate closely. Throughput is the quantity of data that successfully traverses a network, whereas bandwidth is the network's maximum data volume capacity. Understanding the differences between these two can help information technology (IT) administrators optimise and troubleshoot network performance effectively. In this article, we compare the concepts of throughput vs bandwidth, share the differences and explain how to optimise these rates.
Throughput Vs Bandwidth
It may be easier to understand the differences between throughput vs bandwidth if you have an overview of these concepts. You may refer below for the same:
What is throughput?
The amount of data that moves across a network in a predetermined length of time is throughput or data transfer rate. It refers specifically to the frequency with which data packets or messages effectively reach their intended target. Bits per second or data packets per second are the units of measurement for this metric. As it helps to identify the reasons for a bad or slow connection, measuring throughput is a tool to evaluate, troubleshoot and enhance network performance.
What is bandwidth?
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can move through a network, from a source to a destination, in a specific amount of time. Bandwidth indicates the speed at which a network can reliably carry data packets to recipients, rather than the actual rate at which packets arrive at a destination. Bits per second, megabits per second and gigabits per second are the units of measurement for this metric. Bandwidth describes the greatest potential or capacity of a network whereas, throughput describes the actual performance of a network.
Comparison Of Throughput Vs Bandwidth
Though your network and data transmission technologies require both throughput and bandwidth, there are many subtle differences between the two. Given below are the comparisons between the two concepts:
Throughput is useful for quantifying data, whereas bandwidth is useful for assessing a network's capability. Imagine a tunnel getting filled with water through a tube. Throughput is comparable to the amount of water moving through the tube each second. Bandwidth is the tunnel's width. More water can pass through the tunnel or more data can transit a network with a wider tunnel or better bandwidth. That said, just as a greater bandwidth may face transmission delays and packet losses, a wider tunnel could still experience the effects of a slow water stream and leaks.
Relation to actual data transmission
Both throughput and bandwidth are measurable in bits per second. That said, throughput is a useful parameter that monitors actual packet delivery. Contrarily, bandwidth measures the possibility of packet delivery and is a theoretical statistic.
Imagine you want to transport some soil to a garden for planting. Your bag can hold up to ten pounds of soil. This is like the bandwidth, the bag's capacity. You only transport five pounds of soil to the garden site, as that is your requirement. This is the throughput or the actual volume you delivered. If you use the bag up to full capacity and transport ten pounds of soil, the throughput is then ten, the same value as your bandwidth. If you use a bigger, 15-pound bag, the bandwidth is then 15.
Relation to the rate of data transfer
Speed is the distance that a moving object may cover in a specified amount of time. The distance that data travels over a network in a second can then seem to be a sensible measure of data transmission speed. That said, IT specialists frequently use the word 'speed' in a variety of contexts. Sometimes, people use the phrases 'speed', 'throughput' and 'data transfer rate' interchangeably. The term 'latency' also exists, which describes how long it takes a data packet to travel from its source to its destination.
A high throughput indicates a fast network. It shows that consumers are getting a large amount of data every second. High bandwidth makes it possible for networks to operate at high speeds because it permits the simultaneous transport of enormous volumes of data.
How To Optimise Throughput?
The following three actions can help you maximise your throughput:
1. Gather data
The collection of data is the first step in optimising different processes. To monitor the throughput of your networks over time, use software apps. You can also see if there are any periods of time when your throughput is particularly slow. Having this knowledge gives you a sense of how well your network is currently performing and enables you to come up with practical solutions to enhance network functioning and design.
2. Deal with the problems
Network bottlenecks are amongst the most frequently occurring causes of high latency. This is a reference to traffic congestion, which occurs when numerous users attempt to access a network simultaneously. This can be typical in offices after lunchtime when employees resume their work at once. If many users are attempting to download files or are using complicated apps, network speed may even be slower. By resolving these issues, you can reduce delays.
To manage high volumes of traffic, consider upgrading your routers or switches. Another option is to scale back the network's nodes so that packets travel over shorter distances. Data typically can take longer to reach its destination the more network devices it passes through. Because each device replicates data from one incoming port to another outgoing port, each one introduces a tiny delay. You can make it possible for data to get to its destination faster by minimising these devices.
3. Reduce equipment outages
Decrease downtime by maintaining adequate maintenance. Finding the cost of downtime and how it affects return on investment can be simple. Many businesses begin a digital transformation plan based on preventive maintenance, as the cost is generally straightforward to determine. It can also be beneficial to start with the basics, identify the throughput effectors and discover better ways to document and monitor maintenance before ramping up or implementing new technology. Using technology with alerts, notifications and reminders assists keep equipment functioning and decreases downtime and rejected components.
How To Optimise Bandwidth?
Focusing your efforts on particularly optimising each can help in the development of long-lasting and effective improvements to your network systems. You can use software and data monitoring to determine if your bandwidth suffices to meet the operational requirements at your workplace. To optimise the bandwidth, you may refer to the below steps:
1. Modify the parameters for your quality of service
You can give your router instructions by changing the quality of service settings. Make the required adjustments to ensure that your network gives priority to the most crucial data and traffic. This helps the programs that require a lot of maintenance to have adequate bandwidth.
2. Consider using 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, are also achievable.
3. Reduce unnecessary traffic
During working hours, you may ban particular traffic or websites, such as streaming and video applications. These types of apps can use large quantities of bandwidth, leaving lesser capacity for crucial software. You may encourage staff to use bandwidth for crucial business processes in this way.
4. Optimise the actual data
Using methods like load balancing and traffic shaping to optimise your data is one of the finest ways to boost bandwidth. Through these optimisation efforts, you can reduce the bandwidth usage of the data as a whole or set up a priority system to make your most important data appear to be using more bandwidth than it actually does. At various locations within your network, data optimisation is possible.
5. Invest in a tool to improve bandwidth
The best option to enhance bandwidth is to spend on a network performance tool that offers traffic and bandwidth monitoring and analysis. These tools help you gain the knowledge of your current network and bandwidth necessary to take action to enhance performance. They can also support you in taking focused action to boost bandwidth without spending money on extra hardware.
6. 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. Perform these software updates and other maintenance procedures outside regular business hours. Employees can then utilise all the applications' features whenever they require them for work without facing lags.
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