Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In computer networks, goodput (a portmanteau of good and throughput) is the application-level throughput of a communication; i.e. the number of useful information bits delivered by the network to a certain destination per unit of time. The amount of data considered excludes protocol overhead bits as well as retransmitted data packets. This is related to the amount of time from the first bit of the first packet sent (or delivered) until the last bit of the last packet is delivered.

For example, if a file is transferred, the goodput that the user experiences corresponds to the file size in bits divided by the file transfer time. The goodput is always lower than the throughput (the gross bit rate that is transferred physically), which generally is lower than network access connection speed (the channel capacity or bandwidth).

Examples of factors that cause lower goodput than throughput are:

  • Protocol overhead: Typically, transport layer, network layer and sometimes datalink layer protocol overhead is included in the throughput, but is excluded from the goodput.
  • Transport layer flow control and congestion avoidance: For example, TCP slow start may cause a lower goodput than the maximum throughput.
  • Retransmission of lost or corrupt packets due to transport layer automatic repeat request (ARQ), caused by bit errors or packet dropping in congested switches and routers, is included in the datalink layer or network layer throughput but not in the goodput.


Over Ethernet files are broken down into individual chunks for transmission. These chunks are no larger than the maximum transmission unit of IP over Ethernet, or 1500 bytes. Each packet requires 20 bytes of IPv4 header information and 20 bytes of TCP header information, leaving 1460 bytes per packet for file data (Linux and macOS[1] are further limited to 1448 bytes as they also carry a 12-byte time stamp). The data is transmitted over Ethernet in a frame, which imposes a 26 byte overhead per packet. Given these overheads, the maximum goodput is 1460/1526 × 100 Mbit/s which is 95.67 megabits per second or 11.959 megabytes per second.

Note that this example doesn't consider additional Ethernet overhead, such as the interframe gap (a minimum of 96 bit times), or collisions (which have a variable impact, depending on the network load). TCP adds the overhead of acknowledgements (which along with the round-trip delay time and the TCP window size in effect rate-limit each individual TCP connection, see bandwidth-delay product). This example does not consider the overhead of the HTTP protocol itself, which becomes relevant when transferring small files.

Data delivery time[edit]

The goodput is a ratio between delivered amount of information, and the total delivery time. This delivery time includes:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stuart Cheshire. "TCP Performance problems caused by interaction between Nagle's Algorithm and Delayed ACK". Retrieved 2010-01-13.