Difference Between Bandwidth and Throughput

You have vital information for measuring network performance if you know your network’s throughput and bandwidth levels.

Throughput indicates the amount of data transferred from a source at any given time, whereas bandwidth indicates the amount of data that might theoretically be transmitted from a source at whichever given time.

Administrators who want a comprehensive view of their network’s performance need to know how throughput & bandwidth are operating.

Bandwidth vs Throughput

The main difference between Bandwidth and throughput lies in the details. As these, both terms are likely similar but the difference is bandwidth is the measure of data transmission from one place which is the source to the other which is a destination in theory calculations whereas Throughput is the actual data transmission from one system to another which are present at different places.

Bandwidth vs Throughput

The bandwidth of a channel or an Internet connection is the maximum rate of data transmission for a certain period. The amount of data that may be transmitted from one point to another via a specific path is known as bandwidth.

Simply explained, bandwidth allows us to estimate how long it will take to receive a certain piece of information over a particular connection. The bit rate is the number of bits per second that a link can send or receive.

The number of packets that successfully arrive at their destinations is measured by throughput. Throughput capacity is usually expressed in bits per second, although it can alternatively be expressed as data per second.

Packet arrival is critical to a network’s high-performance service. People expect their demands to be heard & answered to it a prompt when they use programs or software.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xINovPUiFusLow throughput implies difficulties such as packet loss, and packet loss results in poor and slow network performance.

Comparison Table Between Bandwidth and Throughput

Parameters of ComparisonBandwidthThroughput
DefinitionBandwidth is a measure of data transmission theoretically.Throughput is a measurement of the data actually transmitted.
UnitsBitsBits per second
AffectedNot affectedAffected by physical obstructions.
OSI modelWorks with physical layerWorks with every layer.
Dependent onNot on latencylatency

What is Bandwidth?

A computer network’s data transfer capacity is measured in bits (Bps). The word could also be used to characterize a user’s capacity to finish activities or think carefully at any given time.

The amount of bandwidth required to access the internet without interruption is governed by the user’s job. Every second, an instant messenger chat, for example, can consume 1,000 bits, and one kilobit of bandwidth.

Meanwhile, 56 kilobits per second is used in an audio discussion in which someone’s voice is relayed across computer lines (Kbps).

Bandwidth means the amount of data that can be carried via a network. The amount of data that may be carried varies, which has an impact on the efficiency of a transmitter such as an Internet connection.

ISPs commonly measure bandwidth in millions of bits per second (Bps), or megabits per second (Mbps), as well as thousands of Bps, or gigabits per second (GB) (Gbps). In general, the more bandwidth a system has, the faster it can receive online data.

Since its debut in 1994, the Net has progressed from a one-of-a-kind tool used mainly to connect government research institutions to a fundamental part of daily life.

In 1995, 0.68 percent of the planet’s population had internet access, according to sources. 2 By 2019, well over half of the world’s population would’ve been connected.

People nowadays utilize the Internet to connect, buy stuff, make money, get knowledge, and have fun.

Since the technology has become progressively content-heavy, efficient, and populated over time, the overall bandwidth required to operate it properly has climbed substantially.

What is Throughput?

Throughput, also known as network throughput, is the rate of efficient message transmission through a communication channel in communication networks including Ethernet and packet radio.

The data included in these messages may be transmitted across a physical and logical connection, or it may travel through a network node.

Typically, throughput is expressed in bits per second, but it can also be expressed as packets of data per second and data packet per time frame.

The total of the data rates sent to all endpoints in a network is known as system throughput as well as aggregate throughput.

Throughput is fundamentally equivalent to digital bandwidth utilization; it may be mathematically examined using the queueing theory, in which the load in packets each time unit is indicated as the arrival rate, and the throughput is marked as the departure rate.

The limits of the underlying analog physical medium, the available computing capacity of the components, and end-user behavior can all affect the throughput of a communication system.

When protocol overheads are included, the practical rate of sent data might be much lower than the maximum attainable throughput; this is referred to as goodput.

Main Differences Between Bandwidth and Throughput

  1. In theory calculations, bandwidth is a measure of data transfer from one source to another destination, whereas throughput is the actual data transmission from one system to another located at separate locations.
  2. Bandwidth is measured in bits whereas Throughput is measured in bits per second.
  3. As bandwidth is a theoretical value it can not be affected by anything whereas throughput is affected by physical obstructions.
  4. In the OSI model bandwidth works with the physical layer whereas Throughput works with every layer.
  5. Bandwidth is not affected or dependent on latency whereas throughput is dependent on latency.


Although bandwidth & throughput seem to be comparable on the surface, they are vastly different in practice.

Visualize bandwidth as just a pipe as well as throughput as water, which is the most typical analogy used to convey the relationship between the two.

As bigger the pipe as well as bandwidth, the more water, and data that can pass through it at once.

Meaning the amount of bandwidth dictates how packets could be sent & retrieved between devices in one go, while the amount of throughput determines how many packets are transferred within a network.

To put it differently, bandwidth is a measurement of the number of data packets that could be transferred, throughput is a measure of the actual amount of data that is successfully transferred.

Resulting, throughput is a better indicator of network performance than bandwidth.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/749288
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1248658
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