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Navigating Network Dynamics: A Deep Dive into Throughput and Latency

Navigating Network Dynamics: A Deep Dive into Throughput and Latency

throughput vs latency

There are several methods for assessing data transfer speeds within a network. However, comparing throughput vs latency is one of the most pivotal techniques. This approach may reveal hidden problems affecting the performance of your organization’s network. 

That said, there are considerable differences between the two concepts, including what they measure and how they measure it. 

In this article, we will break down throughput and latency by revealing their benefits and importance within network management. 

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Why Teridion?

Teridion solves network latency for global enterprises by using powerful AI-driven route detection.

Why Are Network Latency and Throughput Important?

Throughput and latency—although closely connected—have different purposes within network management. 

Throughput looks at the amount of data transferred per unit of time. As a result, this reflects the network capability for data transmission. If your company’s network has low throughput during a VoIP meeting, you may experience dropped audio and robotic sounds. Low throughput lengthens file transfer time and causes sluggish cloud-based applications. 

Latency measures the delay within the data transfer, which influences the responsiveness of applications and builds a seamless user experience. If your business has high latency during a VoIP meeting, you may notice disjointed conversations and poor flow. It may also affect video conferences and large file transfers.  

You’ll need a balance between throughput and latency to achieve optimal network performance for your business. This gives you:

  • Efficient data handling: A balance between throughput and latency enables efficient data handling on CRM platforms. As a result, this increases data-driven decisions. 
  • Bandwidth management: A good balance between throughput and latency allows your business to grow without bottlenecks, ensuring uninterrupted delivery service. 
  • Seamless transactions: For E-commerce platforms or web applications, a network balance leads to higher conversion rates and customer retention. 

 

That’s why understanding throughput vs latency is so critical for your business. 

What Is Throughput in Networking?

Throughput in networking is the speed of successful data transmission within a communication channel. It measures the quantity of data transferred in a specific timeframe. 

There are multiple factors influencing throughput; these include network congestion, bandwidth limitations, protocol inefficiencies, and packet loss. To maximize throughput, you must optimize these to boost the data transfer speed and efficiency. 

It’s possible to measure throughput in networking in bits per second (bps) or multiples, such as kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). 

What Causes Poor Network Throughput?

Many factors create poor network throughput. These include bandwidth constraints that throttle data transfer rates and networking congestion that creates packet delays and reduced throughput.

Also, watch out for protocol overhead and inefficient routing. These can damage data transmission inefficiency, resulting in poorer throughput.

What Is Latency in Networking?

Latency in networking is the time taken for a data packet to travel from the source to its destination. It detects numerous delays during the transmission, such as: 

  • Propagation delay: The time taken for signals to cross the network. 
  • Transmission delay: The time needed to push the packet onto the network. 
  • Processing delay: The time spent in switches or routers for forwarding decisions. 

Various latency types influence network performance differently. For instance, low latency is critical in interactive applications—such as video calls to clients—to maintain high responsiveness. 

In contrast, latency will have a lower impact on file downloads and bulk data transfer operations within an organization. 

What Causes Poor Network Latency?

Poor network latency often comes from hardware and software factors within the network infrastructure. For example, hardware delays often come from the distance between communicating devices, the capabilities of the routers, and the standard of the networking equipment. 

However, software-induced latency often stems from packet retransmissions, inefficient protocols, and queuing delays in networking devices. 

Which Metric Is More Important?

The most important metric between throughput and latency depends on your requirements. If you need responsiveness and real-time interaction, such as conference calls, you’ll need low latency. 

If you have applications requiring large data transfers, including cloud-based accounting software or customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, a high throughput is required. 

Determine your requirements and figure out which is more important. Or, better still, consistently maintain an optimal network balance. 

The Relationship Between Throughput, Latency, and Bandwidth

One should understand the relationship between throughput, latency, and bandwidth to maximize the efficiency of your network. 

Let’s break them down:

What Is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth is a critical component of networking. It’s the maximum data transfer rate of a network or internet connection, and it represents the capacity of a communication channel to transmit data over a precise period. 

Bandwidth may be bidirectional or directional. Bidirectional bandwidth is the data transfer rate in download and upload speeds, whereas directional is the data transfer rate in one direction. 

Latency vs Bandwidth

Knowing the difference between latency and bandwidth is essential for growing your network performance. Latency directly affects network responsiveness, whereas bandwidth gauges the capacity of a channel to transmit data over time. 

Although latency indicates network immediacy, bandwidth determines overall throughput capacity. 

Throughput vs Bandwidth

Another key difference to know is throughput vs bandwidth. Throughput calculates the speed at which your network can transfer data over a specific time. 

However, bandwidth is the theoretical maximum capacity of the network connection. 

How to Measure Throughput and Latency?

There are various tools to accurately assess network throughput and latency. These provide insights into data transfer rates and bandwidth utilization. 

Tools for measuring throughput:

  • Iperf: One of the best tools for gauging throughput is Iperf. It’s a versatile command-line utility that allows performance tests by generating UDP and TCP traffic between servers. You can use both to assess upload and download speeds. 
  • Speedtest: A popular tool for measuring latency is Speedtest, a speed testing service that’s free to use. You can gauge connection speeds and compare them against international locations. 
  • NetFlow Analyzer: If you need a tool that provides superb insights into bandwidth usage and application performance, NetFlow Analyzer is perfect. 
  • LAN Speed Test: Another excellent option for accurate assessments of network performance is the LAN Speed Test. It allows you to measure local networks by transferring files between computers in the same LAN environment. 
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Tools for measuring latency:

  • Ping: One of the most straightforward tools to measure latency is Ping. The platform works by sending ICMP echo requests to a specific destination. After that, it measures the time taken for the response. 
  • Wireshark: A super-powerful network protocol analyzer is Wireshark. It provides accurate assessments of packet-level details by identifying latency-inducing factors. These include packet retransmissions and network errors. 
  • Traceroute: If you prefer insights into the path the data packets take between the source and destination, Traceroute is another top option. It lets you optimize routing paths for optimized performance.  

 

If you use these tools, you can develop powerful insights for understanding your network performance metrics. 

In turn, you’ll find bottlenecks, troubleshoot the most significant issues, and optimize configurations for increased efficiency. You’ll also have a better understanding of throughput vs latency. 

Strategies for Mitigating Latency and Maximizing Throughput

In many cases, you must use strategies to reduce latency and boost throughput. Here are some of the best options:

Mitigating Latency

1. Reducing Data Packet Size

You should reduce the data packet size to mitigate latency. By doing so, you’ll decrease transmission times and streamline data transfer processes and responsiveness. 

2. Utilizing Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

You should leverage CDNs to distribute content across various servers. In turn, you’ll decrease the distance data must travel, and this helps minimize latency and boost content delivery speeds. 

3. Quality of Service (QoS) Policies 

You can implement quality of service (QoS) policies to prioritize latency-sensitive traffic. This ensures that critical data streams receive preferential treatment, ensuring you can minimize latency for essential services. 

4. Increasing Network Rooting 

Another option is optimizing network rooting. This method reduces latency by minimizing the network hops the data must pass through. As such, it streamlines data transmission and boosts end-to-end latency. 

Maximizing Throughput

1. Protocol Selection 

If you choose the most efficient network protocols based on application requirements—such as TCP/IP or UDP/IP—you can increase your throughput. 

For instance, TCP/IP provides reliable, connection-oriented communication for applications demanding guaranteed delivery. In contrast, UDP/IP offers increased throughput for real-time data streaming and multimedia applications. 

2. Compression Techniques 

You can also use compression techniques to decrease the size of the data you transmit. As a result, you’ll boost throughput because you’ve reduced the amount of data transferred over the network. 

3. Traffic Prioritization 

You should consider traffic prioritization to boost throughput. Traffic prioritization allows critical applications to gain preferential treatment, ensuring optimal throughput for all services. 

4. Load Balancing

If you distribute network traffic evenly throughout multiple servers or network paths, you can maximize throughput and halt congestion. 

Popular load-balancing techniques include round-robin or weighted distribution, ensuring optimal resource allocation and network reliability. 

Tools and Technologies Available for Improving Throughput and Latency

Tools and technologies can improve throughput and latency at your business. They’re designed to enhance network performance, security, and reliability. 

You can also use them to optimize throughput and reduce latency via intelligent routing, traffic management, and automated failover capacities. 

Check these case studies to learn more about how Teridion solves network latency for global enterprises by using powerful AI-driven route detection.

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