Data rate is best described as the rate at which information or data is exchanged between devices and or over the network. It is expressed as the amount of data transferred per unit of time. In many instances, data rate is used to describe how quickly a person can upload or download a file or files on the Internet. Data rate can also be applied to describe the transfer of data in various information processing devices such as hard drives, memory cards, video cards, televisions, radios, and video games. This term can also be used to gauge the efficiency of electronic products.
Data transfer rates are often determined in bits or bytes per second. Data rate is also known as throughput. In network communications, data rate is measured in bits per second. Information or data are transferred as packets and travel through thousands of miles of various information cable lines.
Network companies advertise their data rate capabilities over those cable lines. The data rates they report are actually the maximum data rates that can be achieved without the problems of network congestion. During a network request, data rate may fluctuate depending on various reasons. Bandwidth measurement may be used as a means of telling whether the data transfer rate is fast or slow. Data rate is an important consideration in website or in network design. Website designers and engineers constantly aim for a website that can load promptly the moment a client clicks on the website link. The more traffic a website has the slower data rate can be depending on the network conditions and the way the website is designed. For example, large amounts of graphics or videos on a website can potentially affect the rate at which these items are displayed to the viewer. Most web designers optimise these types of content, or use a CDN, to ensure they are downloaded quickly for all visitors.« Back to Glossary Index