In the world of tech, much jargon doesn't always register like bandwidth vs throughput. When managing your network usage and analyzing the culprit of slow internet connection, you will want to know what throughput is and how your router's bandwidth plays a role in your network performance.
This article will help you distinguish bandwidth vs throughput, expound on the significance of each while also enumerating a couple of ways to improve your throughput performance for an optimal networking experience.
Bandwidth Vs Throughput
If you're looking at the systems in place when it comes to your network, zooming in on the concepts will better streamline the idea. The bandwidth of a router is parallel to the throughput so that it is both measured in similar units.
Throughput is the actual amount of data transmitted from one source to another destination at any given period.
Bandwidth - the maximum theoretical amount of data that could be transferred from one source to another at any given period.
Here's a simple analogy:
A road if eight lanes will have a higher capacity to accommodate traffic than a street with only two lanes has higher chances of causing road congestion. In this situation, the lanes represent the bandwidth; how much data a link can handle.
The number of cars, the time of the day, and the road conditions you drove on a specific day of the week affect how smoothly or effectively traffic on the lanes goes. Thus, these changes create the actual capacity of data a link could handle, representing the throughput.
Note: The throughput performance of both router models will vary depending on other wireless products used and other external factors.
Throughput in Networking
Throughput takes into consideration how many packets get to their destinations. It's not necessarily a rival of the bandwidth of your network. Thus, bandwidth vs. throughput doesn't apply here since throughput is the actuality of a bandwidth's promise.
It confirms the actual delivery of the packet data over a communication channel. It's measured in bits per second (bps), kilobit per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). Throughput plays a crucial role in delivering superb network service. When it comes to network throughput systems, using software or programs eats up a lot of time and energy.
Considering that external factors affect the internal system, slow network performance is often an issue people are faced with. Since throughput is measured by how many packets arrive at their destination, it is significant in determining if your wireless router is doing its job or not.
The slower the packets arrive at their destination, the lower the throughput. Thus, the slower the network performance. When these packets take a while to arrive, they are often lost in transit. This is one of the numerous factors that affect your router's throughput performance.
Bandwidth in Networking
When it comes to the bandwidth of a network, the way it is measured is similar to the throughput, by bits per second (bps), kilobit per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). However, it's best to remember that measuring network performance is most optimal when using throughput.
From a macro-perspective, your network's bandwidth is the maximum theoretical delivery of the packet data over a communication channel. At which your router provider tested and offered you upon purchase. The higher the bandwidth your private network has, the more allowance you get when transferring data.
Remember, when buying a wireless router with top-grade bandwidth like the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 Router AC1900 or the Linksys EA7500 Router AC1900, it is still possible to have poor throughput performance due to latency issues.
Factors that Affect Throughput Performance
When it comes to improving throughput performance, moving your router to another part of your house isn't enough. Doing a little more thorough research and understanding the backbone of acceptable networking practices in your home is essential. Here are a few factors to observe and maybe even practice to help create better throughput performance at home or your workplace.
This is accounted as the time a packet spends from the sender to its destination. Simply put, the travel time of a message from one device to another device across a network. Latency is another term for the delay.
Delays often occur post-lunch hour when everyone at the office is back on their desks, ready to send out afternoon emails. This is usually the time of the day when latency or bottleneck issues take place since everyone in the same room, much so area, could be actively sending out data.
To narrow it further, the culprit of low latency lies in the number of devices on one network, as well as the type of connection device used. Higher latency issues occur in a hub-based network wherein hubs broadcast all messages or data to devices. Switch-based networks only relay messages or data to an intended recipient.
There’s bound to be a transmission error between devices with busy homes with users who enjoy streaming music, shows, and games. When devices are attempting communication with each other simultaneously, signal collision interrupts the whole transmission altogether.
This often creates tension, so the more gadgets you decide to keep bringing home or connecting to the internet on an active usage time, the higher the chance of signal collision.
Transmission Medium Limitation
In terms of bandwidth capacity, the medium in which you're transferring data will meet a specific limit. Consider the Netgear Nighthawk X10 R9000 Smart WiFi Router AD7200; its bandwidth is set at 7200 Mbps with four antennas to help extend range and boost network performance.
That is just the theoretical data rate (bandwidth), which means regardless of how much traffic is incurred over the interface, the most it can achieve is at a 7200 Mbps data rate. The realistic data rate that often surfaces estimates 855 Mbps (95% of the bandwidth).
Networks also adapt to congestion issues with specific protocols intact. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) in a network works with the Internet Protocol (IP) to establish a thorough program to maintain a smooth network conversation.
For instance, flow control and congestion avoidance features are automatically sorted and eventually impact the data transmission rate between two separate devices.
Packet Loss and Errors
This set of factors tend to be collateral damage when a security breach or damaged devices occur. Losing packets or data that need to be transferred often fails and has to be retransmitted.
This tends to reduce the average throughput between the two devices communicating. Errors in these situations also affect network performance in the long run and not just during a short period.
Boosting Throughput Vs Bandwidth Performance
Optimizing your throughput and bandwidth will help achieve your network's performance. This is not a one-step process, though. It's best to remember that other management practices and small bottleneck fixes can only take your network experience so far. Consider these approaches the next time you plan on finding ways to optimize your throughput performance.
Maximize your QoS Settings
The Quality of Service (QoS) should not be overlooked when optimizing your network settings. When you take advantage of your router's QoS, it allows users to oversee network congestion while commanding traffic policies. Users will have the option to choose which types of traffic will be tolerated when using certain apps or programs among various devices.
Maximizing your QoS settings will help lessen competition in your bandwidth during critical and time-sensitive operations like sending bulky documents, hosting and presenting on a Zoom meeting for work, or merely streaming the latest episode of your favorite show.
Run backups and updates at the suitable time
Automatic backups and updates in network features may not always be a smart maintenance approach. It usually takes a considerable chunk of bandwidth when backing up a network. New functions and features may even increase latency, and if you're already having issues with network congestion, this could be a hack that could help.
Be strategic when scheduling your backups, perhaps during downtime or in the wee hours of the night when everyone else at home is asleep. Running backups and updates at this period would allow smooth operations and avoid signal disruption during the maintenance procedure.
Replace faulty devices or components
This tip may seem obvious, but many offices and users forget to replace broken wires or connectors. Using electric tape is a quick fix that will not improve and may even set your network performance in the long run.
Some router devices also have a maximum productivity rate. More often than not, software and network tools are upgraded with complex new updates that may not apply to the previous model. Thus, the need to upgrade overburdened devices for a more smooth-sailing browsing and gaming experience.
Establish and diversify traffic routes
When it comes to finding the source of network traffic, knowing where it comes from is not enough. Mapping out the devices tied to your bandwidth, whether it's a smartphone, desktop, laptops, printers, and tablets, could be beneficial when dissecting your traffic routes.
Wireless access points and massive app downloads create consistent traffic, and high-volume sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are culprits to the traffic jam.
As soon as you know where the bulk of your network traffic lies, figure out how to better direct your traffic. An alternative method is to supplement your broadband by not just relying on a Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), a technique to stay connected in real-time with your favorite apps.
Opening up a separate internet pipe could make some space in your primary network, which helps dictate specific user traffic. An extra internet pipe can lessen latency and jitter in your network; this is ideal for large offices and households with multiple users connected to more than three devices per person.
Pinpoint the source of bottlenecks
Bottlenecks are also a hassle to deal with because they're the traffic jams in network performance. Lessen the nodes of your network to shorten the distance packets need to travel to prevent bottlenecking.
Many factors influence bottlenecking in your network, and more often than not, companies refuse to upgrade their IT components and devices. Ensure you request to upgrade routers in your workplace or get a new model when you transfer to a new place because some routers, despite several updates, may not be able to keep up with traffic.
Make use of apps that work best with Cloud
Finding a third-party company to help you keep track of your network's performance is an efficient management tool to consider. Use Cloud-based apps to improve optimization and contribute to reducing the hassle of regularly monitoring your network activity. By using the Cloud's best monitoring apps, social media or streaming platforms will be easier to browse through.
Cloud-based Network Management Apps to Try
This free cloud-based tool is available for Android and iOS. It boasts a series of tools that will help monitor your home network right from your smartphone. You could run a few tests on the app, including ping tests, scanners, traceroute, DNS lookup, and IP monitoring functionalities. This is an excellent tool for small businesses that run on a private network.
Another free cloud-based app to download is Opensignal. It's free and offers avid smartphone users to look over their network speed, availability, and range monitoring capabilities. Tracking upload and download speed are possible with this app, and it administers a 10-second test to see how a download or upload can affect your network speed in a day. This app also helps compare your network provider's connection with other surrounding networks and their rates.
DataFlow is a cloud-based support app that is only available on iOS, but it's one of the free network monitoring apps that offers real-time network data usage tracking. It also stores all the analyzed data for long-term analysis. Disk space, network speed, and memory are a few features you can oversee right from your phone. App customization is also available where users may manipulate themes and colors.
Bottom Line: Bandwidth vs Throughput
Overall, throughput is far more superior when it comes down to a battle of bandwidth vs. throughput because it's a means to measure most of your router's network actual performance. Looking at throughput performance also helps users assess direct sources of latency, packet loss, as well as the substantial potential you can still use from your bandwidth.
Bandwidth is still a vital element to look at when assessing your internet and connectivity’s overall performance. The internet speeds that run on your local browser have a more significant impact on your broadband than the throughput performance. Regardless, bandwidth and throughput are essential when it comes to achieving a highly optimized network experience.