Determine Bandwidth Capability and speed of data transfer

Posted on 2012-09-04
Last Modified: 2012-09-05

I am trying to find the best way to calculate how long it will take to transfer email data from one server to another. I use an program to convert/transfer the data. This program is run on a workstation. It logs into the source program, it grabs an email message, it works on it via the workstations TEMP directory, and then it places the message into the target application.

When calculating how long a transfer (migration) will take, I usually suggest setting up a source account with 1Gb of Data, and then time the transfer. Once the transfer is made, we can see how long it takes to migrate 1Gb of messages. Then, we can calculate how long it will take to migrate an entire server's worth of email messages.

Often, the limiting factor is the speed of the network or the WAN link.

What is a good way to determine how long it will take to move/transfer data from one computer to the next based upon the network connection and/or the WAN link? This is where I am unsure of what to do. For example, many times people are using a cable connection, a DSL link, a T-1, or something else. I don't know how to calculate those network connections.

Please assist me in getting a grasp on how the network connection and the WAN links would affect data migration, and how to determine the transfer rate given the different connection speeds and using the IP Protocol on a Windows computer.

Question by:jhieb
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution

    First thing to remember is that file sizes are typically calculated in bytes (i.e. KB, MB, GB) while network speeds and WAN links are calculated in bits (i.e. Kb, Mb, Gb).  This makes a big difference as there are 8 bits to 1 byte.  

    Second, Wan links are extremely lower for bandwidth than a LAN.  Switches are 100Mbps with many now running at 1Gbps so transfer speeds are very good across a LAN.  The only thing you have to watch for are bottlenecks like a router-on-a-stick.

    Here are two links that will help you:

    Convert bytes to bits and vice versa -
    File size bandwidth calculator -
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Hi Qbakies,

    Thank you for the links. Since I will be transferring email, and since email message varies in size from a few KB to multiple MB's (and the data population is in the GB's), how would you adjust the File Size bandwidth calculator? It is designed for one file size.

    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Not sure what you mean...if you know the size of the total data population "is in the GB's" just enter the GB size in the calculator click the 'GB' button and it will fill in the file transfer time for each type of connection.  You don't even need to convert from bits to bytes!
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks. The hyperlink is informative and I appreciate the information.

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