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I was wondering how to calculate the maximum traffic/load that I could potentially serve having a 1Mbps up? I know that it depends also on external factors but roughly what would be the max output. Mainly web server: dynamic content (thumbnails, text etc)


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your theoretical maximum throughput at 1Mb/s would be

  • 60 Mb/min, or 7.5 MB/min; (remember 8 bits in a byte)
  • 3600 Mb/hour, or 450 MB/hour

Note that this is highly theoretical and does not include things like

  • ethernet, IP, or TCP headers and checksums;
  • non-data carrying packets such as SYN, ACK, various ICMP packets
  • any allowance for non-duplexed data (ie if you have 1Mb/s total, then every request IN means you can't be sending OUT that instant)
  • any allowance for local compute calculations that take longer to do than to transmit (ie generating a custom image, DB lookups, whatever)

So in this highly oversimplified case, if you figure peak demand for this web server is less than those values, you are good to go.

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Not to mention that NIC drivers are not 100% efficient, so they will also slow you down. – David Jan 15 '10 at 3:59
True, but I would hope even an inefficient driver was capable of keeping a 1 Mb/s link saturated. – David Mackintosh Jan 15 '10 at 13:05

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