0 Replies Latest reply: Aug 23, 2011 6:17 PM by zacsmith RSS

How is Network Performance Measured?


When measuring a computer networks performance its common to use units of bits per second (bps).  Networks support very large numbers of bits per second. Instead of quoting 10,000 bps or 100,000 bps, networkers normally express these quantities in terms of larger quantities like "kilobits," "megabits," and "gigabits."


  • 1 Kbps = 1 kilobit per second = 1,000 bits per second
  • 1 Mbps = 1,000 Kbps
  • 1 Gbps = 1,000 Mbps


Both "kbps" with a lowercase 'k' and "Kbps" with an uppercase 'K' can be used interchangeably. Network speed can also be expressed in units of bytes per second, abbreviated as "Bps" with a capital 'B'. Use of these quantities is discouraged in networking to avoid confusion with the bits per second standard:

  • 1 KBps = 1 kBps = 1 kilobyte per second = 8,000 bits per second

The conventions used for measuring the capacity of computer disks and memory might appear similar at first to those for networks. Do not confuse these conventions.

Capacity is normally measured in units of "kilobytes," "megabytes," and "gigabytes." In this non-network usage, 'K' represents a multiplier of 1,024 and 'k' represents a multiplier of 1,000 capacity. The following equations define the mathematics behind these terms:

  • 1 KB = 1,024 bytes
  • 1 kB = 1,000 bytes
  • 1 MB = 1,024 KB
  • 1 GB = 1,024 MB