Alternatively called the transmission speed and transfer speed, the transfer rate is the speed at which data moves between two locations. As a baseline, transfer rates were stated in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second (Bps). However, with modern Internet, transfer rates are commonly measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and gigabits per second (Gbps) as speeds are increased.
For example, gigabit Internet provides average download speeds of about 940 Mbps. When comparing the download transfer rate of a gigabit modem to an older 56k dial-up modem, it's nearly 17,000 times faster!
Applying the math, a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi at 600 Mbps transfers a 4.5 Gb movie in roughly a minute. The gigabit Internet at 940 Mbps takes about 38 seconds. On a medium Internet service speed of 25 Mbps, the file takes 24 minutes to transfer entirely. On slower connections, the perceived transfer time can be reduced by displaying content before it is entirely downloaded (streaming).
See our measurements page for all computer-related measurements.