Differences between Megabits and Megabytes?

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The two sound the same, also the same abbreviations: MB megabytes and Mb megabits. But what exactly are they? How are you going to distinguish between them and how do megabits convert into megabyte? Why the difference in your internet only plans important?


What's the Difference?

The way a machine works comes in. There's a machine with millions to billions of mini transistors and every computer just has 2 settings on and off. A 1 and a 0 are indicative of one. Each setting with 0 or 1 is specified in the transistor by a bit (binary digit). This same system can be extended to anything if two conditions are identical on and off such as magnetic particle size orientation (north-south or south-north) on a hard drive.

A byte is a set of eight bits. This number has been chosen as 255 characters in eight bits have been identified. These include the entire upper and lower case alphabet, zero to nine numbers, and various special characters.

Computers soon progressed beyond bits and bytes, so prefixes have been made available in order to reach growing numbers. Kilobits and kilobytes are 1,000 times larger than bytes and bits. Megabits and megabytes are 1,000 times greater than kilobits and kilobytes, whereas gigabits and gigabytes are thousands times larger than megabytes and megabytes.

So what's Mbps? Will 100 Mbps download a 100 MB file in a single second? Not exactly. In today's internet era the connectivity rate is measured in Mbps or megabits per second (and increasingly Gbps, or gigabits per second). Data is measured in MB or megabytes.

Remember that a byte is equivalent to eight bits. Likewise, a megabyte is 8 megabits. The total 100 MB file is 800 Mb or megabits, in this case. Now it's clear that a 100-Mbit/s connection (100 megabits/second) would download that file within eight seconds, not in one second.

What's MBps like? Nothing at present. If internet connections were measured in megabytes instead of megabits, you can see the classification. They aren't, though. Connections are measured in Mbps, meaning megabits instead of megabytes. Still muddled? Let's break it down again.

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  • Megabits are a standard unit for Internet speeds, represented in Mbps or megabits per second.

  • The basic computer storage building block is a bit, and a million bits equal’s megabit.

  • It measures data transfer speeds.

  • Internet service providers offer service speeds of 100 Mbps or 300 Mbps, based on a per second megabit (and increasingly gigabits per second, such as 1 Gbps)

  • Knowing Mbps is important to decide which internet service is right for you.


  • Megabytes or MB are a standard data storage unit.

  • One million bytes is eight bits and eight million bits are equivalent to one megabyte.

  • It is used for data measurement. Like every digital photo, e-mail, or movie, a certain amount of data space is available.

  • Megabytes (or 1000 times bigger gigabytes) are used to describe the storage, such as hard drive space. Many internet service providers often use them to set data limits.

Why is it important?

The ISP lists megabit by second connection speed (Mbps). However, the data is classified as megabytes (MB). If you are not certain of the difference between megabit and megabyte, you can choose an Internet speed that would be too slow to suit your needs or overpay more than you need. You may also misunderstand your monthly data limit, which could be very costly since many ISPs charge a lot of money for data overages.

But how fast does your internet have to be? What you do online and how many people share with you depends. The video streaming requires about 3 Mbps. Each online HD streaming and gaming requires about 5 Mbps. YouTube streaming takes approximately 7 Mbps, and 4K streaming takes about 25 Mbps.

Indeed, strike and gaming services try to preload to avoid buffer delays. This means that a 7 Mbps YouTube video could peak at around 250 Mbps on a fast connection. These services are also excellent for automatically downgrading the quality of video for slow connections, but it needs to be taken into account when determining how much speed you need.

Megabytes (or gigabytes more frequently) matter when considering data caps. If you watch standard definition films for 5 hours in one month, you can reach 1 GB of data. It takes 170 hours of social networking or nearly 7,000 e-mails to reach the 1 GB mark.

It can be somewhat confusing to use megabits and megabytes, so that you can choose an internet speed, cheap internet plan or a data limit that does not suit you. Note only that a megabyte is eight times greater than a megabyte, and while data is being measured in megabit, the internet speed is measured in megabits and all the data that your internet service provider must give you should be able to decode.

About the Author

Deepika Blogger Published On : Jan. 14, 2021

Blogger & Writer from Dallas, Texas


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