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Megabits versus MegaBytes

Megabits versus MegaBytes

It’s Easier Than Your Think

Whether it’s Megabits versus MegaBytes or Gigabits versus GigaBytes, confusion runs rampant and it’s not really that hard to see why if you’re unfamiliar with IT.

And that’s before people shorten the whole thing to Megs and Gigs.  Getting your Mbps and your MBps  mixed up, or your Mbs and MBs is one sure way to annoy that stereotypical long haired techie (you know who you are).

But I’m not one of those, so read on if you’re interested in the difference – or if you just want to spend 5 minutes learning something new.

Kilobits (Kb), KiloBytes(KB), Megabits(Mb), MegaBytes(MB), Gigabits(Gb), GigaBytes(GB) are all measurements of computer data sizes.  Stick a ‘ps’ after the acronym for ‘per second’ converts the acronynm from a measurement of size to a measure of speed.

The more observant among you will have noticed that the subtle difference in the above acronyms is the ‘b’.

The small b stands for bits and the big B stands for Bytes.  There are 8 bits in one Byte.  Therefore 1MBps is the same speed as 8Mbps, or to put it another way


Understand What You’re Buying

Our brains are trained to hunt out the big numbers, which is why advertisers use £4.99 instead of £5 to try and fool us into thinking we’re getting that widget MUCH cheaper.  In the same way, 8 Mbps can seem faster than 1 MBps but they’re actually the same

That’s why you’ll find most if not all ISPs advertising their speeds in Mbps.  8 Mbps looks a far better deal than 1 MBps even though they’re the same.

And of course the bigger the number the bigger the difference.  80Mbps is the same as 10MBps.  Who is going to advertise their product as 10MBPS when competitors are advertising the same as 80Mbps?

So what would the speed be in MegaBytes per second if we see an ISP advertising their product at 100Mbps?

It’s simply 100 Mbps / 8 MBps = 12.5

It’s pretty simple eh? Well if your maths skills are not good you could always try the Google converter by clicking on the image below.


So hopefully you’ve learned something new and it’s only taken 5 minutes.  Well done you.

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