The key difference between bandwidth and speed is that the bandwidth is the capacity available for use in data transmission while the speed is the data transferring rate.
Bandwidth and speed are two parameters to refer the performance of systems. When considering the internet connections, sometimes, the terms Bandwidth and Speed have the same meaning. That is data transfer rate or bit rate. It is the amount of data that transmits within a second. However, bandwidth and speed have different meanings in networking and communications. Fields such as Electronics also use these two terms. For example, speed and bandwidth of Front Side Bus (FSB) have different meanings.
What is Bandwidth?
In communications, bandwidth is the difference between highest and lowest of the frequency range. Hertz (Hz) measures the bandwidth. Usually, bandwidth has the same meaning in Electronics, Signal processing, and Optics.
For a network connection, Bandwidth is the capacity to transfer data. In other words, it is the total amount of data that can pass through the path. The measurement is ‘bits per second’ or bps. A bit is the fundamental unit of information in computing and digital communication. A bit can be either ‘0’ or ‘1’ (or ‘true’ or ‘false’). To represent the decimal number 6 in binary, we need 3 bits as six is 110 in binary. For example, the bandwidth of Gigabit Ethernet is 1Gbps.
Electronics uses the bandwidth of a bus. It is the amount of data that transmits through the bus within a second.
What is Speed?
Data that transfer through a particular connection within a given time is speed. Data transfer rate is another term to speed. Speed cannot be higher than the bandwidth of the connection. ‘bits per second’ or bps helps to measure the speed of a connection. Bitrate and data rate are some other terms when referring to speed.
In electronics, speed means the clock rate of a chip. Hertz (Hz) is the unit of measurement. For example, speed of a bus means how many times it can send data within a second.
What is the Difference Between Bandwidth and Speed?
Bandwidth vs Speed
|Bandwidth is the capacity available for use in data transmission.||Speed is the rate of data transfer across the transmission path.|
|The bandwidth can be a higher value depending on the characteristics of the transmission medium etc.||For a given network speed of a connection cannot be higher than the bandwidth of the network connection.|
|Unit of Measurement|
|The measurement for bandwidth in communication is Hz and bps in network connections.||The measurement of speed is bps.|
|Communication Through a Bus Inside a Processor|
|The bandwidth is the amount of data transmits via the bus.||The speed is the clock rate of the bus.|
Summary -Bandwidth vs Speed
Bandwidth and speed are common terms in fields such as Networking, Electronics, Telecommunication etc. The difference between bandwidth and speed is that bandwidth is the capacity available for use in data transmission while speed is the data transferring rate.
1.“Bandwidth vs Speed.” The Cisco Learning Network, 16 Oct. 2015. Available here
1.’1572617′ by Martinelle (Public Domain) via pixabay