Mean Time Between Breakdowns

What Does Mean Time Between Breakdowns Mean?

Mean time between breakdowns (MTBB) is just one of several terms intended to evaluate how long technical products last in use. Although this term has been useful in IT management and assessment, it is sometimes difficult to define because different companies and other parties use the term differently when promoting specific products.


Techopedia Explains Mean Time Between Breakdowns

One term that is often used interchangeably with MTBB is mean time between failures (MTBF). However, MTBF is really a more general term that refers to any sort of system failure, whereas MTBB can be used for a specific type of failure often associated with mechanical elements. Both of these terms have a lot in common, starting with the idea that both are commonly used to define how long a device, piece of hardware or other tech product will operate without failure. When mean time between breakdowns or mean time between failures is used as a specification for a product, companies often test their equipment in specific ways, such as by running thousands of identical units for a short time in order to figure out how many of them will fail.

As with MTBF and other related metrics, real evaluation of MTBB is based on a transparent explanation of how many units were run for a specific number of hours, and how this statistic contributes to a better understanding of how long a given product is likely to operate without error.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.