Bottleneck Definition & Meaning

(bot &l nek ) (n.) The delay in transmission of data through the circuits of a computer’s microprocessor or over a TCP/IP network. The delay typically occurs when a system’s bandwidth cannot support the amount of information being relayed at the speed it is being processed. There are, however, many factors that can create a bottleneck in a system.

Bottlenecks affect microprocessor performance by slowing down the flow of information back and forth from the CPU and the memory. If all of the components of a system are not able to feed the same amount of data at the same speed, a delay is created. For example, a 2GB processor will be severely bottlenecked by an 800MB memory bandwidth.

Bottlenecks affect network performance by slowing down the flow of information transmitted across networks. TCP/IP connections were originally designed to transmit only text files, and the proliferation of bandwidth-intensive transmissions such as high-resolution graphics has caused bottlenecks in the process; therefore, the data moves more slowly across networks.

(v.) To delay the tranmission of data through a data path.

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