Definition: The MTU is the maximum size of a single data unit (e.g., a frame) of digital communications. MTU sizes are inherent properties of physical network interfaces, normally measured in bytes. The MTU for Ethernet, for instance, is 1500 bytes. Some types of networks (like Token Ring) have larger MTUs, and some types have smaller MTUs, but the values are fixed for each physical technology.
Higher-level network protocols like TCP/IP can be configured with a maximum packet size, a parameter independent of the physical layer MTU over which TCP/IP runs. Unfortunately, many network devices use the terms interchangeably. On both home broadband routers and Xbox Live enabled game consoles, for example, the parameter called MTU is in fact the maximum TCP packet size and not the physical MTU.