What is Bandwidth in Networking?

Created by On January 5, 2024 |  Last Updated On January 17, 2024
What is bandwidth? Try our cloud bandwidth calculator

Bandwidth Calculator - Calculate File and Data Transfer times

Our transfer data calculator accurately calculates the transfer time of any file when you provide the file size and available bandwidth.

The speed test results are the same regardless of how you upload your data.

What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth definition: It is the data size that a device can transfer over a network or internet connection within a set time frame.

Bandwidth frequently needs to be clarified with internet speed.
Internet speed is how quickly a packet can be sent from your device to a remote device and is measured in milliseconds.
Bandwidth is how much data you can transfer; this measurement uses the internet speed in its calculation.

How to Calculate file transfer speed
File size / (Internet connection speed in Mbps /8). = Transfer time in seconds.

1MB file on an 8Mbps will upload in approximately one second.

How long does it take to upload \ download data?

Data size:
Upload bandwidth:
Upload time:
0 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes, 0 seconds

How have internet speeds changed since 1999?

When we started providing cloud backups in 1999, home users and small businesses had a phone line dial-up (ISDN if they were lucky).

Businesses with more money had a slow kilostream internet connection.

Dial-up was never an option for backups because of the high costs incurred when the phone line was connected for long periods.

Kilostream internet and site-to-site connections were suitable for cloud backup due to their fixed price.

Calculating how much time a backup job would need was essential because the backups could only run during silent hours and not during weekdays when users needed the connection.

Data throughput calculators are used by all speed test applications to measure how much data a device can transfer in a fixed period.

Data transfer Vs speed test​

Many websites and tools use the term Speedtest, which is only partially true of what they measure.

When the test starts, it will display the speed of a ping between your device and the server the test is running on.

This will return a speed result such as 30 Ms (milliseconds). There are 1000 milliseconds in one second, but not one million as the name suggests.

The ping time of 30 Ms is the actual speed test of your connection, but we want to know the available bandwidth when estimating how long it will take to transfer data.

The screenshot below is taken from our Azure speed test tool, showing the ping speed in milliseconds.

ping speed

Data transfer terms used by the bandwidth calculator

Mbps and Kbps

Mbps is short for Mega Bits Per Second and is sometimes written as Mbit/s. It is a standard metric term used in the industry by ISPs and manufacturers of networking devices.

Kbps is short for Kilo Bits Per Second and is a slow and obsolete measurement.

You might be more familiar with bytes and megabytes when discussing RAM and hard disks, and the calculation to get from a bit to a byte is to multiply by 8.

You won’t see the term Bits used elsewhere other than in networking because it is more impressive for ISPs to advertise their bandwidth as 100 Mbps rather than 1.5 Mb/s (Megabytes per second). Typically Mb/s is used to show how much data has been transferred over a connection.

Testing your internet speed from the command line

You can check the speed of your connection in milliseconds by using the command ping bbc.co.uk or your preferred site address (make sure it accepts the ping command).

This command works on Windows and Linux.

If you are using a DSL \ Broadband connection, there are two different calculations.

The upload (bandwidth used to transfer data to the cloud), and download (bandwidth used to transfer data from the cloud).

The image below shows the result of our speed test application on Microsoft’s Azure cloud in London.

Most of our customers store their data with Azure or Wasabi, and this application gives them a good idea of how long their first backup will take to upload.

19.71 Mbps is divided by 8 to give us a value of 2.46. If the connection speed remains consistent, we can upload 2.46 MB of data in one second.

How to increase the speed of your uploads

WinZip was a life-saver twenty years ago, and could even span multiple floppies with one compressed file. Magic!

Data compression is still significant today, and the default compression ratio we use at BOBcloud will compress your source data by approx. 40%.

Compression is less for photos and videos and more for databases which contain white space.

Source selections are another great feature which allows you to decide which data you can back up. There is no need to back up an entire volume simply because it is easy.

This will mean a lot of system files and logs you don’t need will be backed up, and consequently, the cost will go up also.

The bandwidth calculator will help you calculate how long your transfer will take.

Chunking is a tool we use under the covers and means your data is chopped up into manageable chunks of 32MB. This means the data is chunked very effectively when stored online.

Are you a speed king?

First, let’s calculate how fast your connection to the internet is by clicking on the image below.

This is a speed test to Microsoft’s UK cloud [Azure] in London.
Post your speed result when using this tool.

Results time​

The test below was run on a PC using BT’s Fibre Broadband, and there’s no surprise it has a healthy upload speed of 20Mbps. We say ‘speed‘, but in reality, it is the size of the pipe or bandwidth. i.e. we can upload 19.71 megabits per second.

Divide that by eight, and you get megabytes per second.


If you want to calculate how much data you can transfer over your internet connection in one minute, do this:

1. Divide the speed test result by eight. This will convert megabits per second Mbps into megabytes MB.

2. Multiple MB by 60 to calculate how many MBs you can transfer in one minute.

If you have any questions or comments, enter them below.

calculate file transfer speed


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