2. Bandwidth values in Tor (Aug 2018)

2.1. Bandwidth values in relays’ configuration


  • BandwidthRate A token bucket limits the average incoming/outgoing bandwidth (default 1GB)
  • BandwidthBurst Limit the maximum token bucket size (also known as the burst) in each direction (default: 1GB)
  • MaxAdvertisedBandwidth will not advertise more than this amount of bandwidth for our BandwidthRate Server operators who want to reduce the number of clients who ask to build circuits through them (since this is proportional to advertised bandwidth rate) can thus reduce the CPU demands on their server without impacting network performance.
  • RelayBandwidthRate
  • RelayBandwidthBurst
  • PerConnBWRate
  • PerConnBWBurst


2.2. Bandwidth values in relays’ descriptor

  • average bandwidth (not any measurements) bw that the relay is willing to sustain over long periods
  • burst bandwidth bw that the relay is willing to sustain in very short intervals
  • observed bandwidth min(max bandwidth sustained output over any 10secs in the past day, another sustained input)
"bandwidth" bandwidth-avg bandwidth-burst bandwidth-observed NL


From tor code:

bandwidth-avg = bandwidtrate = get_effective_bwrate()
              = min(RelayBandwidthRate, BandwidthRate, MaxAdvertisedBandwidth)
bandwidth-burst = bandwidthburst = get_effective_bwburst()
                = min(RelayBandwidthBust, BandwidthBurst)
bandwidth-observed = bandwidthcapacity = rep_hist_bandwidth_assess()
advertised bandwidth = router_get_advertised_bandwidth_capped()
                     = min(bandwidtrate, bandwidthcapacity, 10MB/s)

advertised bandwidth is not mentioned in the spec, but it is used in the code to calculate the consensus bandwidth. See below.

2.3. Bandwidth values in dirauths’ consensus documents

"w" SP "Bandwidth=" INT [SP "Measured=" INT] [SP "Unmeasured=1"] NL

The bandwidth in a “w” line should be [...]
the lesser of the observed bandwidth and bandwidth rate limit from the
server descriptor.
It is given in kilobytes per second, and capped at some arbitrary value
(currently 10 MB/s).

If 3 or more authorities provide a Measured= keyword for
a router, the authorities produce a consensus containing a "w"
Bandwidth= keyword equal to the median of the Measured= votes.

The Measured= keyword on a “w” line vote is currently computed by
multiplying the previous published consensus bandwidth by the ratio
of the measured average node stream capacity to the network average


bandwidth rate limit = bandwidth-avg
consensus bandwidth = Bandwidth

bandwidth rate limit appears here for 1st time to refer to the bandwidth average.

Bandwidth = advertised bandwidth
          = min(bandwidth-avg, bandwidth-observed, 10MB/s) (KB/s)

If 3 or more authorities provide a Measured= keyword:

Bandwidth = consensus bandwidth * ratio(avg stream, network avg)

consensus bandwidth appears here for 1st time to refer to the consensus Bandwidth. ratio of the measured average node stream capacity to the network average refers to the calculation that Torflow does, which currently (no PID) is

bwn_i =&
    \times bwobs_i

That is, the maximum between the ratio of the measured stream bandwidth by the network average stream bandwidth and the ratio of the filtered bandwidth by the network average filtered bandwidth multiplied by the descriptor observed bandwidth (not previous consenus bandwidth):

Bandwidth = observed bandwidth * (stream bandwidth / stream mu)

See Torflow measurements aggregation form more details

2.4. Bandwidth values origin