By Robbert van Os
Posted on 2023-02-04T00:00:00.000Z

Network bandwidth, throughput, and speed - huh?

The article provides an overview of the concepts of network bandwidth, throughput, and speed, and their interrelation.

In the world of technology and information systems, technical terminology is often used to describe complex concepts and processes. For executives and other C-level personnel, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of these terms in order to effectively communicate with technical teams, make informed decisions, and drive innovation. One area of technical terminology that is especially important to understand is network bandwidth and related concepts like throughput, speed, and network hogs.

Network Bandwidth: The capacity or data transfer rate of a network, measured in bits per second (bps), megabits per second (Mbps), or gigabits per second (Gbps). It's important in determining the speed and quality of a network.

Bandwidth vs. Throughput: Bandwidth is the maximum data transfer rate, while throughput is the actual successful data transferred in a network. Factors such as network congestion and network components can affect the throughput, which is always less than the bandwidth.

Bandwidth vs. Speed: Bandwidth is the capacity to transmit data, while speed is the actual rate at which data is transmitted. Speed depends on network and device factors like protocol, device reception, and server capacity, and can be impacted by low bandwidth.

Network Bandwidth Hog: An application or endpoint that excessively consumes bandwidth in a network, causing a negative impact on productivity, response times, and user experience. Bandwidth hogs can be caused by streaming high-res video, huge file transfers, non-work activities, malicious acts, traffic spikes, and bad network configuration. Network administrators can use monitoring tools to identify and solve the problem.

Monitoring Network Bandwidth: Network administrators can use monitoring solutions to manage and monitor network bandwidth in real-time, identify issues and bandwidth hogs, prioritize bandwidth allocation, assess network quality, and generate utilization reports.

Planning Network Bandwidth: Administrators should plan the required bandwidth capacity based on analysis of workloads, applications, and IT operations, and assess current utilization with monitoring tools. Over or under utilization of bandwidth can impact returns on investment and productivity. Organizations often rely on telecom companies and ISPs for purchasing internet bandwidth.