Network Speed vs. Bandwidth? - Interconnections - The Equinix Blog (2023)

Network Speed vs. Bandwidth? - Interconnections - The Equinix Blog (1)

Steve Madden

Vice President, Global Segment Marketing

Published: 5月 9, 20194 min read

Global (EN)

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Can you really compare network speed with network bandwidth? Though interrelated, they are two very different things. While network speed measures the transfer rate of data from a source system to a destination system, network bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred per second (“the size of the pipe”). Combine the two, and you have what is known as network throughput.

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One would assume that high-bandwidth networks would be fast and provide excellent throughput. In reality this is not always the case-not when you throw latency into the mix. Latency is the delay packets experience while moving through a network and typically is the culprit behind poor application response time and frustrated users. There is always some latency overhead in a network because of physics – specifically the speed of light. Light travels at about 200,000 kilometers per second through a single optical fiber, roughly two-thirds of the speed of light in a vacuum. This means, theoretically, that for every 100 km or 60 miles of distance a packet must traverse over a network, a half-millisecond (ms) is added to the one-way latency, or 1 ms to the data packets’ round-trip time.[i] Just as a train track runs over a causeway, so do fiber networks. For example, you could traverse 12 miles of cable to go 5 miles of point-to-point distance. And as the distance between two points grows, latency accumulates as well.

The time for a digital-first strategy is now.

The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) is the industry’s leading source of data and insight on interconnection and its increasing impact on the digital world.

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Network Speed vs. Bandwidth? - Interconnections - The Equinix Blog (3)

Many factors contribute to latency, including: the distance between two systems (such as over a wide area network), the number of hops (bridge, router or gateway points) along the way, large packet sizes (video files or encrypted data), jitter (the variance in time delay between packets) or network congestion (too many bits in the pipe). All of these scenarios can cause data packets to be dropped and then retransmitted, resulting in more latency. As an increasing number of data packets are retransmitted over long distances, they consume greater amounts of available bandwidth, thus degrading network performance.

Emerging 5G networks will help support the trend for real-time applications at the edge by reducing the latency from the device to the nearest antenna/tower. This is just one segment a packet will cross in the journey to a cloud or data center and providers are relying on proximity and interconnection to optimize the end-to-end workflow, including data center transmission and end-node processing.

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The question that network architects must answer is: “How much latency can your company afford?” The answer is: “It depends on how much it impacts or differentiates your business.” For example:

  • Amazon saw that for every 100 ms of latency, they lost 1% in sales.
  • Google found that when an extra .5 seconds was added to the time it took to generate a search page, traffic dropped by 20%.
  • A stockbroker could lose $4 million in revenues per millisecond if an electronic trading platform is 5 ms late in completing the transaction.
  • Online advertisers have a window of approximately 100 ms to place real-time bids for ads in programmatic advertising systems before they lose out on potential revenue streams.

Unfortunately, when it comes to latency, by the time most companies realize they have a problem, it’s too late. They’ve lost prospective customers before the company’s web page has finished loading.

To protect your value investment in your network bandwidth, you need to reduce latency. Doing so requires a combination of proximity between your business and your critical counterparties and direct and secure, private interconnection.

Colocation for proximity + private interconnection = latency reduction

Proximity is defined as the nearness in space, time or relationship. So how does proximity factor into the speed/bandwidth equation? Closing the physical distance between two points automatically reduces latency. Lowering latency increases available bandwidth and enables faster application response times. Since reducing latency is crucial for digital business, shortening the distance between users, applications, data, clouds, things, partners, customers and other participants will result in much greater network optimization and improved application performance.

Proximity to digital and business ecosystems in a colocation data center delivers other high-value benefits to your business. Directly and securely interconnecting your business with counterparties within globally distributed IT traffic exchange points at the digital edge accelerates digital transformation. Proximity to increasing amounts of data that can be shared with employees, partners and customers at the edge is also advantageous, as it provides faster and more accurate insights into business and customer requirements for greater optimization and revenue growth.

Greater digital transformation drives the growth of private interconnection

As companies travel the digital transformation continuum, the demand for high-speed, low-latency, private interconnection grows. The second volume of the Global Interconnection Index (the GXI), published by Equinix, tracks, measures and forecasts the explosive growth in digital business and its direct relation to the growing need for Interconnection Bandwidth[ii]. Installed Interconnection Bandwidth capacity is expected to reach more than 8,200 Tbps by 2021, a five-fold increase over five years with double-digit growth across all industries.

By distributing your IT infrastructures to the edge and leveraging the proximity to vital digital and business ecosystems, you can reduce costs and realize a greater ROI from your Interconnection Bandwidth capacity. You can also increase application speed, performance and ultimately customer satisfaction. We’ve seen customers on average save 70% on their networking costs, which frees up money for them to invest in their hybrid cloud infrastructure and digital transformation.

Learn more about how leading enterprises and service providers are leveraging private interconnection to build digital-ready infrastructures at the edge by reading the latest volume of the Global Interconnection Index (GXI).

[i]Network latency and its effects on application performance.”

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[ii] Interconnection Bandwidth is the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic with a diverse set of counterparties and providers at distributed IT exchange points inside carrier-neutral colocation data centers.

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What is the difference between bandwidth and network speed? ›

Bandwidth: What's the Difference? Speed is measured by the total amount of data you can download or upload in one second. Bandwidth is measured by the total amount of data you're allowed to download or upload in one second, which depends on your internet plan and the connection type.

What is more important bandwidth or speed? ›

Whereas bandwidth is the carrying capacity, speed is the transfer rate. Just as a road has a speed limit, there are limits to how fast data can move. It's true that greater bandwidth correlates with faster speeds, since you can receive more data at a faster rate, but with actual speeds, there's another factor at play.

What is throughput vs bandwidth vs speed? ›

Low network speed leads to a slow network with applications that move at a snail's pace. In brief, throughput is a term used for how much data can be transferred from the source to its destination within a given time frame, while bandwidth is the term used for the maximum transfer capacity of a network.

What is the relationship between bandwidth and data rate? ›

Bandwidth is a measure of the transmission capacity of a network over a specific period of time. It is the rate at which a link may send or receive bits per second. Data rate is used to measure how fast data is transferred from one point to another. It refers to the actual amount of data transferred.

What is bandwidth vs speed for dummies? ›

Bandwidth vs speed

Bandwidth is how much information you receive every second, while speed is how fast that information is received or downloaded.

How much bandwidth does 100 Mbps? ›

Is 100Mbps a good download speed? The 100 Mbps internet offers 12.5 MB/second transfer rates. Equal upload speeds are provided by a fiber-optic internet connection. A 255 MB operating system will upgrade at this speed in around 21 seconds.

Does higher Mbps increase bandwidth? ›

Broadband speeds are measured in 'megabits per second', often shortened to Mb Mbits p/s or Mbps. Bits are tiny units of data, with a megabit representing a million of them. The higher the number of Mbps (megabits per second) you have, the speedier your online activity should be.

Does increasing Mbps increase bandwidth? ›

Bandwidth is the maximum Mbps transfer rate of your network or internet connection, and it naturally affects how fast your internet is. Any connection over 25 Mbps is considered a good speed, so larger households with 3-5 users should consider speeds around 200-300 Mbps.

Is bandwidth the same as connection speed? ›

Can you really compare network speed with network bandwidth? Though interrelated, they are two very different things. While network speed measures the transfer rate of data from a source system to a destination system, network bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred per second (“the size of the pipe”).

Does bandwidth determine speed? ›

They are related but not the same. The difference between bandwidth and speed can be summed up in one line. Internet bandwidth determines how much data can be uploaded or downloaded from our device, and our internet speed determines how fast data can be uploaded or downloaded on our device.

Which bandwidth speed is the fastest? ›

In most cities, the fastest internet speeds are around 1 gigabit per second, which is the same as 1,000 megabits per second. You may see this written as 1 Gbps or 1,000 Mbps. In some areas, you may find speeds twice that fast or be limited to slower cable or DSL internet service.

Is network performance dependent on bandwidth? ›

Depending on their capacity, networks can handle only a certain amount of bandwidth, and some devices consume more bandwidth than others. Insufficient bandwidth can lead to network congestion, which slows connectivity.

Why does bandwidth affect network performance? ›

The more bandwidth a data connection has, the more data it can send and receive at one time. In concept, bandwidth can be compared to the volume of water that can flow through a pipe. The wider the pipe's diameter, the more water can flow through it at one time. Bandwidth works on the same principle.

CAN data rate be higher than bandwidth? ›

The maximum bit rate that is possible over the communication channel is 100 Mbps. However, the actual bit rate may be less than 100 Mbps and can never cross the bandwidth value. Bandwidth also is expressed in Mbps, Gbps, or Tbps.

How do I determine my network bandwidth speed? ›

  1. To calculate the required network bandwidth, determine the following information: Total amount of data (TD) to be replicated, in gigabytes. ...
  2. Calculate the bandwidth required by using the following formula: (TD * (100 / DR) * 8192) / (RWT * 3600) = Required_Network_Bandwidth (Mbps/second)

Is Mbps a speed or bandwidth? ›

The acronym Mbps stands for “megabits per second.” It is a measure of internet bandwidth. In simple terms, bandwidth is the download rate of your internet connection. It is the maximum speed at which you can download data from the internet onto to your computer or mobile device. Let's use an example.

Is it better to have high or low bandwidth? ›

In basic terms, Internet with higher bandwidth, or speed, gives you a faster and better experience over Internet with lower bandwidth.

How much bandwidth is 1 Mbps? ›

Megabits per second (Mbps) are units of measurement for network bandwidth and throughput. They are used to show how fast a network or internet connection is. Each Mbps represents the capacity to transfer 1 million bits each second, or roughly one small photo per second.

What bandwidth is needed for 4K? ›

Streaming TV and movies in SD, HD or 4K UHD. For standard definition (SD) streaming you'll need at least an average speed of 3Mbps, for HD 5-8Mbps and for 4K UHD you'll need 25Mbps minimum, but we recommend a connection of 50Mbps to cover all scenarios (live 4K broadcasts require more speed, for example).

How much bandwidth is 50 Mbps? ›

Is 50 Mbps fast? 50 Mbps internet runs at download speeds of 50 megabits/second and upload speeds of 10 megabits/second. This rate supports large file downloads or transfers and can connect between 10-15 devices at once. Downloading an hour-long webinar with 50 Mbps internet takes approximately 25 seconds.

What is considered slow bandwidth? ›

Less than 15 megabits a second is pretty slow. Speeds of about 25 megabits a second are sufficient for streaming high-definition video; more than 40 megabits a second is ideal for streaming lots of video and playing video games.

What affects bandwidth the most? ›

Furthermore, the bandwidth experience of a device is affected by that device's proximity to the router. A device closer to the router experiences a higher maximum bandwidth than a device farther from the router.

Which bandwidth is better 2.4 or 5? ›

If you want better range, use 2.4 GHz. If you need higher performance or speed, use the 5GHz band. The 5GHz band, which is the newer of the two, has the potential to cut through network clutter and interference to maximize network performance.

What happens if you don't have enough bandwidth? ›

Without enough bandwidth, your connected devices won't be able to accomplish everything you want. To understand the importance of bandwidth, this article will explain what bandwidth is, how it's measured and how you can make sure you have just the right amount of bandwidth to do everything you want online.

Will a better router increase bandwidth? ›

Whatever router you choose to buy won't affect the original speed of the internet coming into your home. These are two separate things, so don't expect much faster download and upload speeds. The true benefit of a new router comes with having better coverage.

What happens if you go over your bandwidth? ›

A home internet provider usually won't charge extra if you use more than your allowed amount of data. Instead, the system will automatically slow down your internet, so it can only be used for basic things like web pages or reading text. Some internet providers call this shaping your connection.

Is 25 Mbps a bandwidth? ›

While most users are content with 25 Mbps download, power users and streamers should consider much higher speeds. Any internet connection above 25 Mbps is a good internet speed. The FCC currently defines a “broadband” internet connection as one that provides at least 25 Mbps for download speed and 3 Mbps for upload.

Is 2.4 Ghz a bandwidth? ›

Ideally, the 2.4GHz band should be used to connect devices for low bandwidth activities like browsing the Internet. On the other hand, 5GHz is the best option for high-bandwidth devices or activities like gaming and streaming HDTV.

What affects bandwidth speed? ›

The type of hardware you use, age of the device, operating system, web browser, network interface card (NIC) and other applications running on your device all affect upload and download speeds.

Why is higher bandwidth better? ›

Having a higher bandwidth means you will be able to achieve a higher data transfer rate which in turn leads to shorter download times. This is especially significant when downloading large files.

What factors affect bandwidth in a network? ›

Factors affecting the speed and quality of internet connection
  • Data transfer technology. ...
  • Network centralizer. ...
  • Other devices and users. ...
  • Network technology and terminal device. ...
  • Other users. ...
  • Location. ...
  • Several operators provide a free speed test for their customers.

Why bandwidth is an important to network performance parameter? ›

The quantity of bandwidth allocated to the network is one of the most important conditions of a website's performance. The web server's bandwidth controls how quickly it can transfer the requested data. While there are many elements to consider regarding a site's speed, bandwidth is frequently the limiting issue.

What are 3 factors that affect the performance of a network? ›

The performance of a network can be affected by various factors: the number of devices on the network. the bandwidth of the transmission medium. the type of network traffic.

What is the difference between bandwidth MHz and Mbps? ›

MHz is the frequency or rate at which a wave will cycle per second. 1 Megahertz would be equal to 10^6 Hertz or 1 million cycles per second. Mbps refers to the how many bits of data is transmitted trough a media (such as fiber optic cable) per second.

What is the relationship between network cable frequency and its bandwidth? ›

The bandwidth of a cable is the maximum frequency at which data can be transmitted and received effectively. The bit rate of a network depends on the electronics and not the cable, providing that the operating frequency of the network is within the cable's usable bandwidth.

Is bandwidth equal to speed? ›

They are related but not the same. The difference between bandwidth and speed can be summed up in one line. Internet bandwidth determines how much data can be uploaded or downloaded from our device, and our internet speed determines how fast data can be uploaded or downloaded on our device.

What is a good network bandwidth? ›

A good internet speed is anywhere between 25 and 100 Mbps. Speeds of 25 Mbps allow up to 2 devices to stream, surf the web and check emails. 50 to 100 Mbps allow a few more people to stream in HD or even 4K, stream music, game, browse social media, and work from home.

Is bandwidth and Mbps same? ›

Bandwidth and throughput are not the same thing, so calling throughput, which is measured in bps, by the name bandwidth is mistaken. Actually bps (bits per second) is rarely used to measure throughput.

How do I convert Mbps to bandwidth? ›

One hundred megabits per second equal 12.5 megabytes per second. To convert bits per second to bytes per second, simply divide the number of bits per second by eight.

Is it better to have higher bandwidth? ›

Having a higher bandwidth means you will be able to achieve a higher data transfer rate which in turn leads to shorter download times. This is especially significant when downloading large files.

Is bandwidth better high or low? ›

Bandwidth is an important factor when it comes to determining the quality and speed of a network or internet connection. Essentially, the higher the bandwidth, the faster and more efficient your internet will be.

Is higher bandwidth always better? ›

Bandwidth and latency have an impact on everything you do online. High bandwidth and low latency translate to the best speeds and the fastest response times—that's what you want for your internet connection.

What is the average network bandwidth? ›

As of July 2022, the average download speed globally for mobile internet was 30.78 Mbps, while average mobile upload speed were recorded at 8.55 Mbps.

How can I tell how much bandwidth my network is using? ›

One way to assess a network's bandwidth usage is to run a network internet speed test. This allows you to view your network download and upload speeds in near real time. Running a test like this during several points in the day can give a general idea of overall usage and help with measuring bandwidth usage trends.

Is 100mbps bandwidth good? ›

A good internet speed is about 100–200 Mbps. That's enough bandwidth to let you stream videos, play games online, and participate in video chat meetings on a range of devices.

How much bandwidth is 10 Mbps? ›

10 Mbps delivers internet download speeds at approximately 10 megabits/second and upload speeds up to 1 megabit/second. That means a 10 MB file will take 8 seconds to load. This speed is ideal for small businesses with very few employees, and it functions through a DSL internet connection with a unique IP address.

Does more Mbps mean more bandwidth? ›

Broadband speeds are measured in 'megabits per second', often shortened to Mb Mbits p/s or Mbps. Bits are tiny units of data, with a megabit representing a million of them. The higher the number of Mbps (megabits per second) you have, the speedier your online activity should be.


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