The data transfer rate is the amount of data that is transferred from one device to another over a channel within a certain time frame. For this reason, it is often also referred to as data rate, transmission speed or connection speed.
The smallest unit of measurement in data transmission is the bit, so the speed is specified in bits per second (bit/s). Larger amounts of data are denoted by the preceding abbreviations kilo, mega, giga and tera.
The maximum data transmission rate that a device can achieve over a channel depends on several factors. In addition to possible channel interference that has a negative effect on the transmission of data units – in the case of Wi-Fi, for example, thick walls or other devices that use the same radio frequencies – the latency (response time) between transmitter and receiver also plays an important role.
Overview of data transfer rates in the unit bits per second:
1 bit/s ⇒ 1 bit per second
1 Kbit/s (corresponds to 1,000 bit/s) ⇒ 1 kilobit per second
1 Mbit/s (corresponds to 1,000 kbit/s) ⇒ 1 megabit per second
1 Gbit/s (corresponds to 1,000 Mbit/s) ⇒ 1 Gigabit per second
1 Tbit/s (corresponds to 1,000 Gbit/s) ⇒ 1 Terabit per second (not yet encountered at home)