Bitrate Vs. Bandwidth

Is bitrate a measurement under 1,000bits/1kbs for video?

Such as 0,950 bitrate


Ken Volk

Ken, good question!

They both measure the same thing - bitrate and bandwidth both express data used over time.

In common usage, bandwidth is more often refers to network speeds (100Mb/s, Gigabit, 10Gig, etc.), while bitrate refers to bandwidth consumption of a device (this camera has a bitrate of 2Mb/s).

Generally, you can use the terms interchangeably and most people in the industry will know what you are referring to.

Btw, people generally don't use the expression "0,950 bitrate". Also, rarely (in 2015) are you going to have a bitrate / stream / bandwidth under 1kb/s anyway.

Hi John:

Got it.

Thank you

Ken Volk

Hey, Ken.

Without taking anything from John's explanation, I would also add that bitrate and bandwidth do have some nuanced distinctions that can help when deciding on which word to use.

One difference is that the actual bitrate is never more than the actual bandwidth used. Bandwidth is often used to mean the maximum bitrate that a medium is capable of, giving rise to the common usage John cited above regarding devices and networks.

It may also refer to a portion of that total capacity, e.g. used/unused bandwidth.

So you will typically hear:

  • We purchased more bandwidth bitrate for the WAN.
  • The camera was streaming at a bitrate bandwidth of 2 Mbps.
  • The total bandwidth bitrate is insufficient to support the higher bitrates bandwidth created by the cameras.

Thanks Chris:

If understand correctly the Bandwidth is the total sum purchased, say 2Mbps as example above. To make the camera function at peak performance, the Bitrate Stream will need to be 1Mbps. This would leave leave 1Mbps for something else. In laymans terms, is this right?????

Essentially yes.

You could then say that you have 1 Mbps available bandwidth and/or that you could support an additional stream with a bitrate of up to 1 Mbps.

"the Bandwidth is the total sum purchased"

The problem is many people say the word 'bandwidth' and do not mean it in this manner. I hear and read descriptions of this camera consumed of X Mb/s of bandwidth routinely.

...this camera consumed of X Mb/s of bandwidth...

I'm 100% ok with that, since you are consuming a portion of capacity.

What I would avoid is saying 'this camera's bandwidth IS X Mbps.' Not that people don't say that, or that they won't understand you, they just might think you don't get out much.

Like if you go around talking about cameras made by Dah-HOO-ah. Like I used to.