Difference between Bandwidth and Speed

In the era of modern technology, a few terminologies are associated such as bandwidth, speed, latency, etc. Technology is used according to convenience for a better life. In this article, we discuss the concept of bandwidth and speed. Also how it differs conceptually. The bandwidth is a theoretical concept. The network monitoring tools are used to determine the availability of bandwidth. For instance, in a computer network, if complete bandwidth is used then a maximum throughput occurs. Examples: Data Bandwidth, Digital bandwidth, etc.

What is Bandwidth?

The flow of Data travels at maximum through a particular route for a certain period of data is known as Bandwidth. A transfer of data per second or how fast data can be transmitted at a single pace.

The frequency of data transferred from one to another location measured as Mbps (Megabits per second) or Gbps (gigabits per second) or Hertz. The frequency can range from the highest or lowest frequency in signal processing. The bit rate is measured by the noise of a channel not only by signal bandwidth.

The maximum throughput in a physical or logical communication system can be attained by utilizing the greater amount of available bandwidth also called as Information rate, Peak bit rate, or net bit rate.

What is Speed?

The rate of transferring the data is known as Speed. The speed is also measured by Mbps (Megabits per second). The speed of the internet to load web pages, videos, files, etc. is known as Internet speed. Speed is a major factor in the internet for numerous activities such as streaming, uploading, downloading games, etc.

The throughput is also associated with bandwidth and speed. Throughput is the rate of successfully transferring and processing data to a destination through a network. The insight of throughput of data gives the information on the number of the packet whether reaching to correct destination or any other factor affecting the path. Because the succession of packet transmission increases the performance in real-time networks.

If there is low throughput and slow latency then it results from the poor performance of the network. Also, latency helps to measure the speed.

Difference between Bandwidth and Speed

Several differences between bandwidth and speed are highlighted in the following table −

Basis of Difference




The maximum amount of data traveling to a particular route at a particular time is known as Bandwidth.

The rate at which data transmitting is known as Speed.


Independent of the speed of latency, download and upload.

Rely on latency, and speed of downloading and uploading.

Part of occurrence

Voltage drop occurs across a particular circuit element.

The potential difference occurs between any two points in an electric circuit.


The unit to measure is hertz or bits per second

The unit to measure is Mb/s or megabits per second.

Rate of speed

The speed is always less than the bandwidth

Bandwidth is higher than speed.

Physical meaning

The bandwidth is the capacity or area available for maximum data transferring.

The speed is the rate of transmitting data.

Commonly used for

Bandwidth checks the internet or system performance.

The network physical signaling is referred from speed.


The maximum throughput is the bandwidth test.

The speed test is latency, download or upload on the internet.


Total connections are added up.

It is determined by the physical connection.


The bandwidth is constant

Changes with many factors such as protocol, network conjunction, and server efficiency.

The speed of transferring data may be delayed depending on packets reaching from one source to another destination. The bandwidth refers fixed time to transmit the maximum amount of data through a network of a specific route. In reality, the higher bandwidth helps attain higher speed but many factors affect the speed due to response delay, protocol, etc.

Another impact on speed is whether the connection is UDP or TCP i.e. connectionless or connection-oriented. The process of synchronizing and not checking for errors in udp makes it faster than the TCP protocol. In such a way protocol determines the speed of the internet whereas bandwidth is constant. Hence speed is varying to several factors.


Bandwidth and speed differ in various aspects. The ISP is the standard assigning the bandwidth whereas the speed gets affected by the protocol used to transfer data to a remote server. Speed is the rate such as which fast data can be downloaded or uploaded to a computer or web server. Bandwidth is how much data is processed in time. ISP provides different limits to bandwidth for loading the data.

On the internet, the bandwidth is mostly used for downloading rather than uploading. Hence, the purpose is distinct but varies in function.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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