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Mbps, MBs, bits, and bytes – all of this jargon sounds foreign to anyone that is not very familiar with computers. While you can’t really function in this day and age without a working device like a smartphone or a laptop, it is not necessary that everyone understands the complete operation of the devices to use them. However, in some situations, it is necessary to have a basic idea of this jargon so that you can make a proper decision.
When we are shopping for an internet plan or package, one of the main specifications to look at is the internet speed. Naturally, everyone wants highly speedy internet so that they don’t run into any lag while surfing, but how fast? What speed do you need and how can you tell which speed is good enough for you, too slow for you, or too fast for you?
As you might have seen, internet speed is always written or measured in Mbps, Megabits per second. Today, we will be learning all about Mbps and how it differs from MB/s so that you get a clear idea of what to get.
The world of computing is solely dependent on two numbers, 1 and 0, the binary digits. These two digits can mean anything and are able to represent everything. However, in the simplest terms, they are used to represent on and off. So, to answer your question: A bit is one binary digit. It is either 1 or it is 0, but it can’t be both at one time. It is the smallest unit of data in the computing world.
The binary data is controlled by what is called machine language, object code, or Assembly Language. The type of assembly language used is specific to each brand of processor. However, the object code controls the operation of various components of each computer or electronic device.
Now, what is a byte? A byte is a group of bits put together, 8 bits to be precise. This means, 8 bits make one byte. A byte is used to describe the smallest unit of storage. In short, this can all be summed up to be written as:
1 Byte = 8 Bits
After having learned the difference, we can now move on to why it was necessary to make that distinction. We use bits and bytes in different situations since we are talking about two different things. Keep reading if you want to know more!
Bits are usually used when talking about transferring data in a second. How much data can you transfer in a second across a network? This will be measured in bits and it will be written down as bits per second (bps). One thing that is worth pointing out here is that bits are used to measure data in motion i.e. downloading and streaming data.
The reason for this is that data is transmitted from one network to another. For example, if you are downloading a picture, the data is divided into packets and it transmits in different directions and arrives at your network and device in a different order than its original form. After reaching the device, the data is reorganized and you get to view the picture. Data transfer, download, and upload speeds are all measured in bits per second.
As we mentioned before, a byte is used to describe the smallest unit of storage. A byte is used specifically to talk about storage. You might have noticed that the storage capacity for hard drives, USBs, and other system memories are written or measured in bytes. This is because it is absurd to mention storage in terms of bits since it will have to be mentioned as megabits.
The size of any software or program is also mentioned in bytes. If you want an idea of how bytes work, then consider this example. If you want to store the word, “dance”, then you will need 5 bytes for this. One byte will only store one character or alphabet.
Knowing what bits and bytes mean, the next thing you want to know is what Mbps and MBs mean. Mbps stands for Megabit per second and it is just a metric of measuring bits. Aside from Mbps, we have Kbps and Gbps for measuring bits. MBs or MBps is also just a metric for measuring or stating the megabytes per second.
Your household internet connection’s bandwidth is stated in Mbps. Your download speed is stated in MBps or MB/s. The download speed is 1/8th of the bandwidth.
Just like bits and bytes are used for different measures, Mbps and MBps are used for two different things too. We know that bits per second is used to describe how data is transferred from one network to another. You will find that internet speed is often represented by bits and not bytes. And we use this metric because it is better and more convenient to say 500 Mbps instead of 500,000,000 bps. Take a look at the statements below to get a better idea of how Mbps and bps correlate.
1 Kbps = 1000 bps
1 Mbps = 1,000,000 bps
1 Gbps = 1,000,000,000 bps
Similarly, MBs are used for the same reason, and you will find that it is mostly used to measure how big a file is or with storage. One thing that requires your attention is that since both the units are different, they should not be mixed up with each other.
So, now you know the difference between a megabit and a megabyte. You also know now why we need both of them and when they are used. Both of them are equally important and are used depending on the context, whether megabit or megabyte. In order to determine the speed of your internet connection, you need to look at both of them accordingly.
A megabit is represented by Mb, whereas a Megabyte is represented by MB. Furthermore, 1 MBps is equal to 8 Mbps. Both these measurements have different uses, with MB mostly being used for storage, and Mbps being used for internet speed.
Mbps stands for Megabits per second. Bit per second is used to measure the transfer of data from one network to another. This is why it is used when mentioning or calculating internet speed.
100 Mbps internet speed is just enough to support downloads of 12.5 MB/s. There is no direct conversion rate since both of them are used for entirely different things. Bits are used to measure speed or transfer rate per second, whereas bytes are used to measure or indicate storage or size.
The more Mbps you have, the faster your internet connection or speed. The more MBs you have, the more storage capacity you have or the bigger the size of the file. An important element of distinction between the two is that Mbps will always have a lowercase ‘b’ and MBps will always have an uppercase ‘B’.
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