Is there a difference between MBps and Mbps?

MBps and Mbps are abbreviations of terms used to specify data transfer speed between two points. While the difference in word is minimal, the difference in the amount of data each term refers to is notable and often causes confusion:

MBps is the abbreviation for megabyte per second. Mbps is short for megabit per second (can sometimes be seen as mbps, but this is wrong as technically the lowercase m stands for milli and not mega).

megabyte vs megabit

The difference between MBps and Mbps is in megabyte and megabit. A digital data bit is a single digit, either a “zero” or a “1” (digital data is made up of a series of zeros and ones). A single character needs at least 8 bits to be represented and this is equivalent to 1 byte. Therefore:

8 bits = 1 byte 1000 bytes = 1 kilobyte (KB) = 8 kilobits (KB) 1000 kilobytes (KB) = 1 Megabyte (MB) = 8 megabits (Mb)

The above notation would be a calculation of multiples of data in the decimal system. But the Binary System used in data storage in computer equipment is different. In the binary system, 1 KB (kilobyte) does not occupy 1000 bytes of memory, but 1024 bytes. This is because the binary system is a base 2 system and 210 = 1024. Strictly speaking, when talking about data storage in computer equipment, the correct term is KiB (Kibibyte) and MiB (Mebibyte). However, these terms are mostly used in the professional field as the terms KB and MB have become much more popular. Anyway, when talking about data transfer, it is correct to speak in MBps and Mbps, as data transfer is measured in the decimal system and not in the binary system.

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o Data transfer rate is often used as a measure of the performance of some devices such as USB ports, card readers and other mobile devices and is often measured in Megabytes or Megabits per second. This measurement is also used to measure data transfer over internet connections. For example, if you see an offer from an ISP that offers 2,000 kbps, know that it’s the same as 2 Mbps.

The speed of Wi-Fi networks is also often measured in Mbps. Wi-Fi 802.11g technology has a maximum speed of 54 Mbps (54 megabits per second, not megabytes). Wireless networks with 802.11n technology can support up to 100 Mbps. You can check if your WiFi network adapter is of one type or another in its specifications.

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