What is throughput

What is the difference between bandwidth and throughput?

In common usage it will be Bandwidth and Throughput often used synonymously. However, both terms mean different things.

The Bandwidth denotes the maximum possible data rate for a connection

The Throughput however, refers to the momentary actual Throughput for a connection.

The definition of bandwidth and throughput can be applied to all (data) connections, such as B. Use Internet broadband connections, hard drives or graphics cards. 3

To make the difference easier to see, you can think of a pipe. If the tap is turned on completely, a maximum of 10 liters can flow per second. However, if the tap is not fully turned on, only the proportionate amount of water will flow. If the tap was turned on halfway, only 5 liters would flow through per second.
The value of 10 liters is the maximum value and thus the available bandwidth. It can Not more than 10 liters per second flow through the pipe. The throughput is, depending on the circumstances, sometimes 5 liters or sometimes 10 liters.

Bandwidth and throughput using the example of a broadband connection

The example with the tap can be applied to the broadband connection (e.g. fiber optic or DSL) in exactly the same way:

  • The glass or copper cable corresponds to the water pipe.
  • The bandwidth of the connection results from the tariff booked, e.g. B. 100 Mbit / s. It corresponds to the maximum possible throughput of 10 liters in the water pipe.
  • The actual throughput for a broadband connection can 100 Mbit / s. As a rule, however, it will be lower.
  • Instead of the water, bits “flow” through the cable.

Thus, although the broadband connection has a bandwidth of 100 Mbit / s, the actual data throughput is significantly lower.