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How to Improve Your Network Throughput

Learn what throughput is, factors that impact it in your network, and how you can increase throughput, now

One of the many factors impacting your WLAN performance—beyond bandwidth, packet loss, and latency—is throughput. And you’ll find that all of these crucial aspects of network performance are interconnected.

Your secret weapon to addressing issues with throughput is to have greater visibility into what’s happening in your network at any point in time, including the causes of congestion and bottlenecks, the types of devices on the network, the bandwidth you're using, and more.

Here’s what you need to know to address throughput issues occurring in your WLAN.

What Is throughput?

Throughput is the amount of data attempting to be transferred over the network at a given time. The information being transferred is commonly referred to as data packets, and the throughput of these packets is measured as bits per second (bps)—they may be represented as kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps), etc.

What is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth, on the other hand, is a bit different. It is the capacity of the network whereas throughput is the actual amount of information being transferred at a given time. Bandwidth may set the capacity limit but other factors can impact the throughput at any moment.

Determine how much capacity you’re using

Data Transfer Capacity 

To improve your network throughput, you want to first figure out how much of your available data transfer capacity you’re actually using.

What is Effective Throughput?

This requires you to know your effective throughput, which is the amount of data delivered in an individual instance from the source to the desired destination. As Network World puts it, “the higher your effective throughput, the more efficiently you use your WAN capacity.”

What is ETR?

You can then determine the effective throughput ratio (ETR), in which you divide the effective throughput by your bandwidth capacity. The ETR helps you determine how much bandwidth one single data transfer utilizes.

Factor in congestion

What Can Cause Network Congestion?

Throughput is greatly impacted by congestion which happens when there are too many users on the network.

Increase Bandwidth 

One solution to congestion is to increase bandwidth. By increasing capacity you are capable of more throughput, helping the network support a larger load.

QoS Technology 

Another issue is when congestion gets in the way of critical traffic for your organization. Try applying Quality of Service (QoS) tech to manage resources and improve throughput for that more critical traffic. QoS sets priorities so that specific types of data can be transferred without an issue.

Note that traffic will probably increase in the future, however, if your organization grows and more people obtain more devices that need to connect to Wi-Fi. This is a great example of why a WLAN strategy needs to be adapted regularly to changing technologies and network landscapes.

Latency and packet loss

What is Latency?

Latency is also related to throughput. This is the delay of data transfer or a delay in the amount of time it takes a packet to get from the source to the destination. Because latency is the time required to transfer a packet, throughput—the amount of data sent—is also impacted when there’s a time delay. When there’s high latency, it means that the sender doesn’t send as many new packets, reducing throughput.

What is Packet Loss?

Similarly, packet loss refers to the number of data packets lost during transmission. This impacts throughput because the lost packets may have to be retransmitted, which reduces throughput between the source and the destination.

Addressing and removing traffic bottlenecks is one way to diminish latency and packet loss and improve overall throughput.

Know the sources of your traffic

Network Visibility 

With so much traffic entering and exiting your network every day, it’s important to know where it’s all coming from. This requires visibility into your network to determine if most of the traffic is from mobile equipment, desktops, laptops, IoT devices, and more.

Understand Devices 

Knowing the types of devices that are contributing to your major traffic congestion will help you determine how much bandwidth you need and help you improve throughput.

Knowledge is power in the world of Wi-Fi. That’s why 7SIGNAL’s tools provide you the visibility and monitoring solutions you need to stay in the know and adapt the strategy to what's happening in real-time.

7SIGNAL Wireless Monitoring Platform 

The 7SIGNAL wireless network monitoring platform can help improve your network’s throughput by addressing congestion, coverage, interference, and WLAN configuration. You’ll receive proactive notifications of both actual and potential issues with performance and quality, giving you the power to solve issues as they arise and optimize your WLAN.

7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.