Transfer Rate

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What Does Transfer Rate Mean?

Transfer rate is a standard metric that is used to measure the speed at which data or information travels from one location to another. It is often expressed in bits or bytes per second, with the prefix changing to accommodate the variable size of the data being transferred such as "kilo," "mega" or "giga." Transfer rate often depends on the technology being used for the transfer.


Techopedia Explains Transfer Rate

Transfer rate is often related to data, as in data transfer rate (DTR), which is often tied to a specific technology such as the kind of network and communication infrastructure being used. Newer technologies such as 4G and LTE have better data transfer rates compared to older ones (e.g., 3G and 2G).

This metric is also used for technologies that deal with storing data exclusively, such as disks and disk arrays and clusters. The transfer rate for disks is dependent on the speed of the disk rotation and on the accuracy of the read/write head, whereas for solid state drives, the transfer rate depends on the efficiency of the flash technology. For storage arrays and clusters, the transfer rate takes into consideration the network connectivity between each node of the cluster, so the transfer rate serves as the throughput of the system.

Transfer rate can be calculated with the following formula:

TR = D ÷ T


TR = Transfer Rate
D = Amount of Data
T = Time (usually seconds)


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

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.