Megabit vs Megabyte Explained

Internet Service Providers have marketed their speeds in Mbps or Megabits Per Second for years. It’s important to know the difference between Megabit and Megabyte, as they are two completely different metrics. Megabit is a lot smaller than a Megabyte.  If you want to calculate your actual download or upload speeds – you need to multiply the speed you’re getting by “.125“.  So, for example, if you’re getting 300 Mbps download speed from your ISP – you’re actually only getting 37.5 MBps Download speed.  This is a huge misconception with a lot of people thinking they are actually getting the 300 MBps speed!  To put it in perspective a SATA 3 (6 GBps) hard disk transfers data at a rate between 70 MBps to 120 MBps.  A USB 3.0 Thumb Drive will transfer data around 80 MBps to 130 MBps.  So in short, keep this in mind when you are shopping for an Internet service provider or upgrading your service.

Here is a chart so you can see how download rates compare to transfer rates.

Data Measurement Bit Byte Kilobyte [KB] Megabyte [MB] Gigabyte [GB]
Download Rate 1 or 0 8 Bits 1024B 1024K 1024MB
Transfer Rate NA NA 128b 128k 128mb

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