What Does Throughput Mean?

Throughput refers to the performance of tasks by a computing service or device over a specific period. It measures the amount of completed work against time consumed and may be used to measure the performance of a processor, memory and/or network communications.


Techopedia Explains Throughput

Throughput was conceived to evaluate the productivity of computer processors. This was generally calculated in terms of batch jobs or tasks per second and millions of instructions per second. Some derivatives measure a system’s overall throughput by evaluating the amount and complexity of work, number of simultaneous users and application/system responsiveness.

Similarly, for network communications, throughput is measured by calculating the amount of data transferred between locations during a specified period, generally resulting as bits per second (bps), which has evolved to bytes per second (Bps), kilobytes per second (KBps), megabytes per second (MBps) and gigabytes per second (GBps).


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Margaret Rouse

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.