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There are many different ways to measure the performance of a network, as each network is different in nature and design. Performance can also be modeled and simulated instead of measured; one example of this is using state transition diagrams to model queuing performance or to use a Network Simulator

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The following measures are often considered important:

  • Bandwidth commonly measured in bits/second is the maximum rate that information can be transferred
  • Throughput is the actual rate that information is transferred
  • Latency the delay between the sender and the receiver decoding it, this is mainly a function of the signals travel time, and processing time at any nodes the information traverses
  • Jitter variation in packet delay at the receiver of the information
  • Error rate the number of corrupted bits expressed as a percentage or fraction of the total sent


Factors affecting the performance of networks

  • -too many users on the network at the same time / heavy use without a sufficient amount of available bandwidth
  • -This would cause congestion and slow the network (above point)
  • -Wired connections usually improve the network performance compared to wired connections because generally speaking they are faster and more reliable
  • -Fibre optic cables have a greater performance capability than copper cables as the signal can travel over long distances and the signal does not degrade (it has higher bandwidth)
  • -Interference from other electronic or wireless devices can affect the performance of the network by decreasing the data speed – this would cause the network to slow down.


Additional Reading