data transfer rate (DTR)

The data transfer rate (DTR) is the amount of digital data that is moved from one place to another in a given time. The data transfer rate can be viewed as the speed of travel of a given amount of data from one place to another. In general, the greater the bandwidth of a given path, the higher the data transfer rate.

In telecommunications, data transfer is usually measured in bits per second. For example, a typical low-speed connection to the Internet may be 33.6 kilobits per second (Kbps). On Ethernet local area networks, data transfer can be as fast as 10 megabits per second. Network switches are planned that will transfer data in the terabit range. In earlier telecommunication systems, data transfer was sometimes measured in characters or blocks (of a certain size) per second. Data transfer time between the microprocessor or RAM and devices such as the hard disk and CD-ROM player is usually measured in milliseconds.

In computers, data transfer is often measured in bytes per second. The highest data transfer rate to date is 14 terabits per second over a single optical fiber, reported by Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT DoComo) in 2006.

This was last updated in May 2011

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