Networking – Performance

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What is network performance?

Network performance is how fast data (such as a message or document) can be sent or received. The performance can be effected in many ways

What factors can effect network performance

  • Bandwidth – the amount of data that can be sent and received over a period of time – certain cables have more bandwidth than others
  • The number of devices on a network – There are more devices in a school than compared to home
  • The type of network traffic – for example everyone streaming 4K video content at once
  • The speed of the devices in a network – not all devices send and receive data at the same speed

Task 1

A) You are at a shopping centre which has guest WiFi – what factors might make the performance of this network?

The number of users at the shopping centre would be more than at home. There is no control over the type of network traffic some people maybe sending text messages – some maybe streaming videos from netflix.

B) Why might wireless connections effect the performance of a network in a negative way?

Wired connections (more often) have a higher bandwidth than wireless connections. Wireless connections depend on the distance between your device and the wireless access point, the further away you are the slower your transmission.

C) Watch the video at the top of the page – what is meant by the term error rate?

Less reliable connections means data is often resent until it has arrived correctly. This increases the amount of data being sent which can effect the performance of a network in a negative way.


Latency is the delay from transmitting data to receiving it.

  • Hardware such as switches and transmission media (cables/wireless) may not operate at the same speeds
  • One Ethernet cable – may send and receive data at 1000 megabits per second but another may only send at 100 megabits per second
  • One device may communicate at 1000 megabits per second but the network switch only communicates at 100 megabits – this is called a bottle neck all devices can only send and receive at 100 megabits per second.

Task 2

A) A local area network is being setup at home. John wants to use wireless connection only – describe how network performance can be effected by this decision

Wireless is effected by distance. The further people are away from the wireless access point the worse the performance gets.

B) A school says it needs more bandwidth than the average home – What does this mean and why would this be the case?

There are more devices and users in a school. There is more data being transmitted at one time compared to the average household.

C) A gamer is complaining their online game is going slow but only when their family are all watching Netflix at the same time – what could be the problem and what could they do?

There is not enough bandwidth to support the online game and Netflix at the same time. They would need to pay for more bandwidth from the Internet Service Provider. or not watch Netflix at the same time. They maybe able to reduce the quality of the videos they are streaming meaning there is less data being transmitted.

Extended learning

Use the internet to research the different speeds that can be achieved from the different internet service providers. Below is an example, there are many internet service providers.

Use the website below to completed a speed test at home. Try streaming videos from youtube and see how it might effect the speed test

Test your knowledge – Click for the Quiz