What is the difference between throughput and bandwidth?


Bandwidth could be compared to the number of lanes on a highway while throughput could be compared to the number of cars passing through it per second.

Bandwidth: a history of frequencies

Simply put, when data travels from one point to another, whether over a cable or wireless network, that transmission uses frequencies. And the bandwidth is the part (the band) of these frequencies which is used to transmit the signal. This bandwidth is delimited by high and low “cutoff” frequency values, from which the signal no longer passes.

Bandwidth is a way of expressing the maximum capacity of a network to transmit data.

Speed: an easier way to know the speed

Throughput is the information rate, or the amount of information that is transmitted in a time slot. On an internet connection, the speed is expressed in kbps or kilobits per second.

A bit is a piece of binary information and if you have a connection with a 2 kbps rate, it simply means that in one second, 2 kilobits, or 2000 bits have been transmitted in a one second interval. As a reminder, in a bit, the information is either a 1 or a 0. It is these 1s and these 0s which are transmitted over the bandwidth (between a minimum frequency and a maximum frequency) and it is the speed at which these were transmitted, which is called debit. For information, a “byte” consists of 8 bits.

How to measure internet speed?

At any given time, your throughput will depend on several parameters, but not only bandwidth. In any case, it is very easy, today, to know this flow. On mobile, there are many apps that measure it, including Ookla’s Speedtest.

You can also easily access a speed test without installing any application by entering speedtest on the search engine. This test is done in 30 seconds and consumes about 40 MB of data.

Speed ​​tests tell you two speeds: downlink and uplink. The first expresses the speed at which the bits pass from a point to your device (for example, your smartphone if it is on this one that you made the measurement). The second expresses the speed at which bits are transmitted from your device to a point (for example, when you send an e-mail or a photo).

On some Android smartphones, the speed is also indicated in real time next to the Wi-Fi icon.

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