What Is the Difference Between Bits, Bytes, Megabits, Gigabits, etc?

Most vendors specify their transfer rate as Megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits (Gbps). One megabit = 1 million bits, and one gigabit = 1 billion bits.

However, most of us think in terms of bytes. One byte = 8 bits. So you can just divide bits by 8.

1Mbps = 131,072 bytes (128 KBps)
10Mbps = 1.25 megabytes (1.25 MBps)
100 Mbps = 12.5 megabytes (12.5 MBps)

The average song is 3 MB. On a 1 Mbps Internet connection it will take around 24 seconds to download. That same song on a 10 Mbps connection would take about 3 seconds.

The average DVD is 5 to 8 GB’s; which would take over an hour to download at 10 Mbps.

I’m excited for those super high speeds; Comcast is slowly getting there. I’m also interested in seeing what Google does if they are able to purchase the wireless spectrum.

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