Today, everyone wants a fast and reliable internet connection, and internet service providers (ISPs) are racing to attract more customers. Most people know the specifications of their internet service, but there are also some who don’t know the speeds and bandwidth they get from their ISP.
You subscribe to a specific plan that charges a specific amount for a particular bandwidth, regardless of which ISP is providing the service. As for bandwidth, there are two types of units used to express it, which are Mbps and MBps. You may have come across these terms megabits per second (Mbps) & megabytes per second (Mbps). They look and sound the same, but they are very different from each other.
How do these two terms differ, and why is it important to know them? Our comprehensive guide to Megabits per second vs Megabytes per second answers this question and more. Let us make you understand everything important in this topic.
What is the difference between Mbps & MBps?
Mbps refers to megabits per second and is the term most commonly used to describe internet speed. For example, if you choose a plan that offers 100 Mbps internet, that means 100 megabits of data per second transferred between your device and your ISP. “Mega” in this term refers to 1,000. Gigabits per second (Gbps) plans are 1000 Mbps or one million bits per second.
MBps stands for megabytes per second. If you see MBps instead of Mbit/s, it means that the metric being measured is megabytes per second & is used to indicate file upload or download speed. Given the same example as above: A transfer rate of 100 MBps means that 100 megabytes of data are transferred to another location every second.
What are bits and bytes used for?
To better understand what Mbps & MBps are, it’s vital to understand what bits and bytes are. Knowing the difference between them will also help you understand their application. What bits and bytes have in common is that both are used to measure digital information or data.
You may have heard that computers deal with 0’s and 1’s. This is very difficult to understand, but it helps explain what a bit is. Bits are basically binary numbers that can hold two values.
0 or 1. Bits represent data in a computer or device. In computer theory, bits also represent electrical values, with 0 being “on” & 1 being “off.” Bits can also be considered very small units, so they are also represented by a small ‘b’.
A byte, on the other hand, is a stack of 8 bits. This means that one byte can store more information. In reality, one byte is large enough to store one ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) character, for instance an alphabetic character.
Bytes are used to represent computer memory and storage. You’ve probably seen the acronyms “KB”, “MB”, and “GB” for kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes, respectively. Today, computer memory has also grown to terabytes (TB). The following table shows how data is measured in bits & bytes.
|1 Byte (B)
|8 bits (b)
|1 Kilobyte (KB)
|1,024 Bytes (B)
|1 Megabyte (MB)
|1,024 Kilobytes (KB)
|1 Gigabyte (GB)
|1,024 Megabytes (MB)
|1 Terabyte (TB)
|1,024 Gigabytes (GB)
Looking at the above table, you must be asking yourself, “Why is 1 kilobyte not equal to 1,000 bytes?” This is because the computer’s memory uses its own binary system instead of the decimal system. Considering that you can use 1 byte to store ASCII characters, a 10 character word occupies 10 bytes of space. Following the same logic, 1 kilobyte can be used to store 1024 characters, including spaces and special characters.
Difference between Mbps and MBps
As explained in the previous section, Mbps(megabits per second) is used to describe internet speed and describes the number of bits that your internet or broadband connection sends to your device in one second. The higher the Mbit/s, the faster the internet connection is. However, it’s important to note that you won’t always get the speeds advertised or promised (not exact).
Some of the factors that affect your actual transfer speed include the following:
- Distance from modem/gateway/ISP hardware
- your physical location/address
- Congestion (when many users share the same internet connection)
- Times of Day
- Server side issue
Megabytes per second, or MBps, on the other hand, are used to describe the speed at which all the files are created, saved, copied, or moved or transferred to another location. MBps tells you how long it takes to transfer a particular file. For example, a speed of 25 Mbps is recommended for streaming live TV without having to download and store files. However, when downloading video games or movies, file download speeds can reach 100 MB/s.
How can Mbps and MBps affect your online activity?
Both Mbps and MBps are considered when downloading or uploading data using the internet. Internet use includes loading websites, downloading pictures or music files, sending e-mails, streaming movies, etc.; whether your connection is 5 Mbps or 1000 Mbps, you should be aware how long it will need to complete all these tasks.
People who are often dissatisfied with their existing internet service can’t load their favourite websites or play games or make video calls or perform other tasks fast enough. This means one of two things, either your ISP is not providing the internet speeds as advertised, or you may be using the wrong plan that doesn’t meet your internet connection needs.
One of the best ways available to avoid this is to figure out your bandwidth or internet speed needs before planning. To do this, you can list down all the devices you have in your home, workplace or use an online bandwidth calculator that uses various factors to estimate the internet bandwidth you need.
When discussing the difference between Mbps and MBps, it’s also important to understand how these two units affect your online activity. As mentioned above, the time it will take to download data from the internet depends & varies on the size of the data & the speed of your internet connection. Other factors also come into play when determining download time, such as the type of internet connection or whether you are connected to Wi-Fi or a LAN (Local Area Network) cable.
However, fast internet speed does not guarantee access to high speed internet. If your download speed is good enough to cover all your needs, but you’re still experiencing lag, the problem may not be your bandwidth; in such situations, get in touch with your internet service provider & explain the problem to get a solution.
How to convert Mbps to MBps
1 MBit/s corresponds to 8 MBit/s, so that 1 byte consists of 8 bits. This is a way to find out how many megabytes of data your internet connection can transfer per second. To do this, divide your internet speed (Mbit/s) by 8.
For example, if you have an 8Mbps internet connection, you can upload 1MB of data per second. The faster the internet connection, the faster will be the data transfer that will take place.
Why is Mbps to MBps conversion important?
The terms Mbps and MBps are very similar and can easily be confused. If you confuse these two concepts when calculating the internet speed you need, you could be making a big mistake in your calculations.
For example, if you download a 100MB file over a 100Mbps internet connection, it’s naive to assume that the file will download in 1 second. Pay attention to the capital “B” in the file size. This means data is in megabytes, and speed is in megabits per second. Considering that 1 megabyte equals 8 megabits, we need to multiply the download time by 8. According to this calculation, downloading a 100MB file takes 8 seconds over a 100Mbps connection. In this example, having to wait 8 seconds instead of 1 doesn’t seem too bad, but if you need to download a 1GB file, you may have to wait hours.
Of course, converting between Mbps and MBps is complicated and can be difficult to get right. However, with practice, you can convert large files in no time.