When using sftp command to transfer files, you get this nice live preview:

  57%   2GB   1.9MB/s   1.9MB/s 2:56:53 ETA

I am interested in the meaning of third and fourth column. What information do they display? At first I thought one is current upload speed, and the other is average, but both numbers change very quickly.


This is called progress meter and you can investigate its source code in the OpenSSH:


It also explains what are the columns you are interested in. The ETA was already explained, the other (1.9MB/s) is recent bandwidth usage, not the average speed.

  • At the risk of stating the obvious, MB is millions of bytes per second, as distinct from Mb, which is millions of bits per second and is the more usual unit of bandwidth. The OP's example transfers 1.9 MB/s across a link that would be able to handle at least 19 Mb/s.
    – roaima
    May 11 '17 at 9:27
  • @roaima This is known bug reported in bugzilla.mindrot.org/show_bug.cgi?id=2701 and discussed on SO stackoverflow.com/questions/43115542/…
    – Jakuje
    May 11 '17 at 10:22
  • Ah I see. I wasn't trying to differentiate MB and MiB (although, as you point out, that is an issue). These are different only by a relatively small percentage. The difference between MB and Mb (or MiB and Mib) is close to a factor of ten.
    – roaima
    May 11 '17 at 11:45
  • Yes, my bad. You are right about the b/B which I missed.
    – Jakuje
    May 11 '17 at 13:05

"ETA" means "Estimated Time of Arrival".

In file transfer software, the "ETA" term is used to indicate, how long till the end of the transfer. The estimation is based on transfer speed. So if the transfer speed changes quickly, so will the "ETA".

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