Bandwidth is a term that has been imported from the field of electrical engineering into computer networking.  Bandwidth, sometimes known as throughput, is often defined as the rate at which data is transmitted over a network. It is described in bits per second and represents the capacity of the connection. The higher the capacity, the better the performance subject to other factors such as latency.

Cloud computing service providers calculate customer bandwidth requirements by taking into account the amount of available bandwidth and the average bandwidth utilization required by different kinds of applications. They also take into consideration latencies in transmission while computing the time it will take to upload the initial backup and all subsequent backups.

Online backup and cloud service providers try to optimize Internet bandwidth in a number of ways. They try to reduce the amount of data that flows through the pipes. They may use link load balancing technologies or unique binary patching and incremental backup technology to extract and transmit only changes to files in order to balance / reduce the amount of data that is transmitted. De-duplication and compression techniques may be used to further reduce the size of files that are being transmitted across the network.

Enterprise IT Administrators are encouraged to determine, as accurately as possible, the amount of bandwidth that will be required by the enterprise for data transfer and storage operations in the cloud and the possible latency in the transfer expressed in milliseconds. They have to take into consideration the number of systems or users who will be pushing data into the available network for data storage and other purposes at peak and non-peak hours.

Self-service enabled online backup services, augmented by user-friendly administrative interfaces, may come with tools that encourage customers to be selective about what they backup. Filters are built into the interface program to enable users include or exclude files and folders from backup sets. The backup sets themselves may be scheduled for upload into the online server at different points in time. The bulk of the data transfers can be scheduled to happen in lulls in the business activity, speeding up transfer of files when more bandwidth is available for the purpose.

However, bandwidth and latency are interconnected. The speed of the network is a function of bandwidth and latency. While bandwidth can be increased, latency cannot be reduced drastically.