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Bandwidth vs Latency vs Throughput: What’s the Difference?

Bandwidth vs Latency vs Throughput

Slow Internet speeds can ruin a perfect movie or game session with friends. Therefore, it is important to know all the terms related to an internet connection. This can help you in resolving the issues promptly and enjoy blazing-fast Internet speed again.

The three most common terms used to describe the traits of telecommunication networks are latency, bandwidth, and throughput. Read on to know the details related to these terms.

What Is Bandwidth?

It measures how much speed and data your network infrastructure can deliver within a specific amount of time. Most of the ISPs use Mbps to measure it. Depending upon the kind of Internet package that you subscribe to, the bandwidth can vary a lot. For instance, a package with higher speeds will also have higher bandwidth than a package with lower speeds.

What Is Latency?

The time it takes for the data to reach your homes is latency. Higher latency means that you won’t be able to enjoy seamless surfing and streaming. While a lower latency implies that you can watch your favorite videos in HD easily.

What Is Throughput?

When choosing an ISP, you go through the range of packages offered by it. These packages claim to deliver a certain amount of speeds to your home. But the actual speeds delivered are quite different. The real data that reaches your home is called throughput. It can be very different from the advertised speeds. This is because issues like high latency and distance can create hurdles in the smooth delivery of data.

So, these three factors play an important role in determining the quality and quantity of data that’ll reach your home. So, whenever a problem arises, you can investigate these areas to resolve it.

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Differences between Bandwidth and Latency

A common misconception related to the Internet is that it is the bandwidth that is the culprit behind slow speeds. However, that is not true. Bandwidth mainly measures how much data can be delivered to your home. Latency determines whether there’ll be interruptions or not. So, if your video is continuously buffering, then the latency should be blamed for it.

While Internet users didn’t have to encounter latency issues in the past, now latency issues are much more frequent. This is because internet speeds have become quite high. So, a delay of more than 5-10 seconds becomes highly noticeable.

Read also: Gigabit Ethernet: Features, Functions, and Compatibility

The Impact of Latency on Bandwidth

Latency can affect your package’s bandwidth in considerable ways. High latency can significantly slow down the speed of streaming your favorite content. Here’s how individual activities get affected by latency and bandwidth:

Watching Movies/TV Shows

Since movies and shows require a constant connection, so a good bandwidth is required to stream them easily. If the bandwidth is quite poor, the video/movie will simply not stream. In some cases, the video can play but it will be filled with interruptions.

A high latency, however, can impact your movie watching experience significantly. You might not be able to watch the movie at all. Or it can greatly reduce the quality of the video. So, if you don’t want to stream movies/videos in low quality, make sure to get the latency issues fixed.


If you want to enjoy online game sessions with friends, you can do so without worrying about bandwidth. This is because online games require only a limited amount of bandwidth. So, even if you don’t have a subscription to a great Internet package, you can enjoy gaming easily.

But if there are frequent delays in the transfer of data, then it can become difficult for you to enjoy online gaming. Delays can slow down your game and make it difficult for you to operate it efficiently.

Video and Audio Calling

For effective audio and video calling, you need to have both high bandwidth and low latency. This is because high bandwidth will ensure that data can reach you quickly. And if the latency is high, it can severely affect the quality of the video. The video can freeze easily as well.

Web Surfing

For daily web surfing, you need very high bandwidth. If you use the Internet to check your emails or to do some Google search, you are fine without a great bandwidth. But if you have to download heavy e-books and movies, then high latency can become a problem. It can take days for you to do so with high latency. So, make sure to get the latency issues resolved to avoid this situation.

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How to Improve Throughput and Bandwidth?

Throughput and latency are interlinked. So, if you manage to fix the issues related to latency, the throughput will automatically get improved. Here are some common measures that you can take to improve the throughput:

Restart the Device

Latency issues can frequently occur if you haven’t restarted your device in a long time. So, push the button on the back of your router twice. If that is not possible, you can reboot the router online.

Directly Connect Your Device With the Modem

Sometimes a wireless connection can become a big problem. This is because the walls, floor, and other devices can interfere with the signals. So, there can be frequent delays in data transmission. Directly connecting your device to the modem can help in enhancing the Wi-Fi performance.

Use Only One App at a Time

An application that continues to run in the background can be a big reason behind high latency. Therefore, it is a good idea to close all unwanted applications. You’ll notice a significant improvement in speed after closing these applications.

Change Your Router/Modem

Sometimes, an old modem/router is not strong enough to handle high bandwidth. So, it might be a good idea to replace your modem/router. If that is not possible, make sure that your equipment is updated. Because outdated software can also severely affect performance.

Lastly, if none of these solutions have worked for you, you can consider changing your router settings. This will improve both the throughput and bandwidth of your network. If this doesn’t work as well, you should contact your ISP’s customer support.

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