Human bandwidth

In computer networks, bandwidth is usually measured in bits/sec. This metric reflects that amount of information which can be exchanged over a given network. The Morse code used by early telegraph systems and amateur radio operators among others operates at roughly 40 words per minute, which corresponds to 56 bits per second.

A recent study analysed the bandwidth of human voice among 17 languages, including Italian, Japanese or English. They found that, on average, human speech carries 39 bits of information per second. This is slower than Morse code and also slower than networking techniques. The first modems that were used to interconnect computers over telephone lines had a bandwidth of 110 bits/sec.

Another earlier study reported that although the optical nerve carries information at about 6 Mbps, the brain only processes 10,000 bits per second of information.

This blog post was written to inform the readers of Computer Networking: Principles, Protocols and Practice about the evolution of the field. You can subscribe to the Atom feed for this blog. These notes are also posted on the ebook’s Facebook page

Written on September 10, 2019