Mbps vs. MBps: Understanding the difference

Samantha Cossick
SC
Samantha Cossick
Apr 4, 2019

When it comes to understanding the internet, there’s a lot of terms and acronyms to know. Perhaps one of the most difficult is what’s the difference between Mbps and MBps. It may seem small, but that capital “B” in the second one makes a difference.

What’s the difference between Mbps vs MBps?

The main difference between the two terms comes down to bits vs. bytes. The first acronym, Mbps with a lowercase “b,” refers to megabits per second, while the second, MBps with a capital “B,” stands for megabytes per second.

While both are terms related to measurements, they’re used differently. Megabits per second is commonly used when talking about internet upload and download speeds, or the rate at which information is uploaded or downloaded based on your connection speed.

Alternatively, megabytes per second is typically referenced when talking about file size or the amount of data transferred. In many cases, you may see MBps shortened to just MB, such as a 500 MB video clip. MB can also be used when talking about internet data caps or mobile data allowances. For instance, a cell phone plan may come with a 500 MB monthly data allowance.

In short, if you were to download a file from the internet, the size of that file is measured as MBps, but the rate at which it downloads is measured as Mbps.

A quick guide on data measurements

Some common data measures include:

  • 1 Byte = 8 bits
  • 1 Kilobyte (kB) = 1,024 Bytes
  • 1 Megabyte (MB) = 1,024 Kilobytes
  • 1 Gigabyte (GB or Gig) = 1,024 Megabytes
  • 1 Terabyte (TB) = 1,024 Gigabytes

How do Mbps and MBps affect my online activities?

As mentioned above, both Mbps and MBps come into play when you’re downloading things from the internet — everything from loading a webpage to downloading music and movies to streaming TV.

The time it takes to download will vary based on the size of the file and how fast of an internet connection you have.

How long does it take to download a website, music and videos?

Here’s approximately how long it would take to download the following media types at various connection speeds:

MediaFile size1 Mbps3 Mbps5 Mbps10 Mbps30 Mbps50 Mbps100 Mbps500 Mbps1 Gbps
Webpage1 MB8 seconds2 seconds1 second<1 second<1 second<1 second<1 second<1 second<1 second
MP3 song3 MB25 seconds8 seconds5 seconds2 seconds<1 second<1 second<1 second<1 second<1 second
10 minute SD video clip500 MB1 hour, 10 minutes23 minutes, 18 seconds14 minutes7 minutes2 minutes, 19 seconds1 minute, 23 seconds41 seconds8 seconds4 seconds
SD movie2 GB4 hours, 46 minutes1 hour, 35 minutes57 minutes, 15 second28 minutes, 37 seconds9 minutes, 32 seconds5 minutes, 43 seconds2 minutes, 51 seconds34 seconds17 second
HD movie12 GB28 hours, 38 minutes9 hours, 32 minutes5 hours, 43 minutes2 hours, 52 minutes57 minutes, 15 seconds34 minutes, 21 seconds17 minutes, 10 seconds3 minutes, 26 seconds1 minute, 43 seconds

As you can see, the larger the file size the longer it’s going to take to download on slower speeds. This is why it’s so important to take your online activities into consideration when choosing an internet speed.

If you’re not sure what speed you need or which plan may be right for you, give our experts a call to learn more about what options are available near you.

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