# Round or cut-off data throughput values?

Let's say I have 999,999,997 bits/s of data-transfer rate and I want to display it in a human-readable way by converting it to the largest possible unit with two decimal places.

Would it be best to display it as:

1. `| 1.00 Mbit/s |`
2. `| 0.99 Mbit/s |`
3. `| 1000.00 Kbit/s |`
4. `| 999.99 Kbit/s |`

Interestingly, the first form might in rare cases lead to confusing situations in my applications because I allow the user to create filters matching data, and these filter can be for example in the form of a range with units in it, e.g. `10Mb-1Gb` or `1Mb-100Mb`. So theoretically the situation might occur where `1.00 Mbit/s` is displayed but not matched by latter filter.

### Be Consistent

The problem with rounding is ambiguity. You've identified this problem with your example of non-matching with filters.

To solve this problem, you could always round your numbers in the same direction and indicate that to the user. For example, always round down (i.e., `floor`) and display 999,999,997 bits/s as `"Throughput greater than 0.99 Mbit/s"` or the maybe better `"Throughput not less than 0.99 Mbit/s"`.

To go the other way and display "Throughput less than 1 Mbit/s" would probably not give the user a good feeling, since I presume your users by and large would prefer to have more throughput rather than less, but in other situations perhaps always rounding up and saying less than would provide a nicer perspective for the user (e.g., `System is experiencing (less/not greater) than 100 faults/second`).

• In a table row I can't use such long texts but I could maybe display it in the column header… 🤔. – phk Oct 10 at 14:41
• Yeah, I'd probably prefix the table with like "Throughput not less than" and then use the `floor`'d number or else just put `>=0.99Mbit/s` in the table cell. – sintax Oct 10 at 15:20

In such a case, use ≈ notation to indicate that the value is close to the displayed if this information is important to the user.

``````|   ≈1.00 Mbit/s |
|    0.99 Mbit/s |
| 1000.00 Kbit/s |
|  999.99 Kbit/s |
``````