Measuring network throughput

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Throughput of a network can be measured using various tools available on different platforms. This page explains the theory behind what these tools set out to measure and the issues regarding these measurements.

Reasons for measuring throughput in networks. People are often concerned about measuring the maximum data throughput in bits per second of a communications link or network access. A typical method of performing a measurement is to transfer a 'large' file from one system to another system and measure the time required to complete the transfer or copy of the file. The throughput is then calculated by dividing the file size by the time to get the throughput in megabits, kilobits, or bits per second.

Unfortunately, the results of such an exercise will often result in the goodput which is less than the maximum theoretical data throughput, leading to people believing that their communications link is not operating correctly. In fact, there are many overheads accounted for in throughput in addition to transmission overheads, including latency, TCP Receive Window size and system limitations, which means the calculated goodput does not reflect the maximum achievable throughput.

The Maximum bandwidth can be calculated as follows:

where RWIN is the TCP Receive Window and RTT is the round-trip time for the path. The Max TCP Window size in the absence of TCP window scale option is 65,535 bytes. Example: Max Bandwidth = 65535 bytes / 0.220 s = 297886.36 B/s * 8 = 2.383 Mbit/s. Over a single TCP connection between those endpoints, the tested bandwidth will be restricted to 2.376 Mbit/s even if the contracted bandwidth is greater.

This page was last edited on 25 October 2017, at 01:22 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwidth_test under CC BY-SA license.

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