At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this post may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.
When it comes to understanding the internet, there’s a lot of terms and acronyms to know. Perhaps one of the most difficult is Mbps vs. MBps. What’s the difference? 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. You may also see this referred to as bandwidth.
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 cellphone 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.
Megabits vs. Megabytes: What’s the difference?
Mbps: Megabits per second measure the rate at which information is uploaded or downloaded based on your internet connection speed.
MBps: Megabytes per second is a measurement of file size or a data amount.
A quick guide on data measurements
Don’t let these abbreviations trip you up! Here are some other common data measures that denote file size/data amounts, listed from smallest to largest:
- 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. Other factors can affect download times as well, such as whether you are downloading using an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, or whether you are connected to residential or business internet.
But what if you already have high Mbps, but are still experiencing slow internet? If you have an appropriate download speed, but are still having trouble with activities such as gaming or video-chatting, then latency, not bandwidth, might be the problem. Learn the difference between bandwidth and latency and find out how to troubleshoot for this issue.
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:
|Media||File size||1 Mbps||3 Mbps||5 Mbps||10 Mbps||30 Mbps||50 Mbps||100 Mbps||500 Mbps||1 Gbps|
|Webpage||1 MB||8 seconds||2 seconds||1 second||<1 second||<1 second||<1 second||<1 second||<1 second||<1 second|
|MP3 song||3 MB||25 seconds||8 seconds||5 seconds||2 seconds||<1 second||<1 second||<1 second||<1 second||<1 second|
|10 minute SD video clip||500 MB||1 hour, 10 minutes||23 minutes, 18 seconds||14 minutes||7 minutes||2 minutes, 19 seconds||1 minute, 23 seconds||41 seconds||8 seconds||4 seconds|
|SD movie||2 GB||4 hours, 46 minutes||1 hour, 35 minutes||57 minutes, 15 second||28 minutes, 37 seconds||9 minutes, 32 seconds||5 minutes, 43 seconds||2 minutes, 51 seconds||34 seconds||17 second|
|HD movie||12 GB||28 hours, 38 minutes||9 hours, 32 minutes||5 hours, 43 minutes||2 hours, 52 minutes||57 minutes, 15 seconds||34 minutes, 21 seconds||17 minutes, 10 seconds||3 minutes, 26 seconds||1 minute, 43 seconds|
The bottom line: The larger the file size, the longer it takes to download
As you can see, the larger the file size the longer it’s going to take to download at slower speeds. This is why it’s so important to take your online activities into consideration when choosing an internet speed. Take this 15-second quiz to see what speed you need!
Shop popular providers, compare plans by speed and data, then order service on Allconnect.Compare providers
Written by:Samantha Cossick
Contributor, Former Senior Content Strategist
Samantha is a key contributor to Allconnect covering broadband services. She graduated with a journalism degree from West Virginia University and spearheaded the growth of Allconnect’s Resource Center. Prior to … Read more
Edited by:Shannon Ullman
Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content
Sunday, January 17, 2021What’s the difference between Ethernet and internet?
Lisa Iscrupe — 3 min read
Saturday, January 16, 2021Which internet providers offer Price for Life plans?
Ari Howard — 3 min read
Thursday, January 14, 2021The average American uses 7GB of cellphone data monthly
Allconnect — 4 min read