While the two terms sound similar and share an abbreviation, they are actually quite different. And they’re both critical, as they affect the speed of data, such as your internet connection (for which you pay a premium) and the size of data stored on storage devices such as hard drives.
Yes, it’s a little perplexing, but today we’ll explain everything you need to know about the megabit (Mb) and megabyte (MB) (MB).
What Is the Difference Between a Megabit and a Megabyte?
To begin, we must return to the item that began it all—the bit. A bit is the smallest unit of digital, computerised data; it is a binary number. A byte is made up of eight of these bits. A megabit includes approximately one million of these bits, and a single megabyte is comprised of eight megabits. The sole distinction between megabits and megabytes is this.
The majority of the time, data sizes for hard drives and files are expressed in “bytes,” whereas data for broadband is expressed in “bits.”
You may be more familiar with gigabytes (GB) or even terabytes (TB), which are more often used words in the data storage industry these days. A gigabyte is approximately 1000 megabytes, while a terabyte is 1000 gigabytes.
When viewed in this light, a terabyte is simply a large collection of bits. When you stop to consider it, it’s rather insane, isn’t it?
What Is the Distinction Between Megabits (Mb) and Megabytes (MB)?
The abbreviations are also critical to note. Because a megabit is a smaller unit than a megabyte, it is abbreviated “Mb.” Because the megabyte is larger, it receives the capital “B” in “MB.”
Both megabits and megabytes are frequently used to describe the rate at which data is transferred from one device to another, such as hard drives or internet connections. If, on the other hand, you’re referring just to hard discs, the abbreviation remains “Mb” or “MB.”
However, when discussing internet speeds, you’re referring to the amount of data transferred in megabits or megabytes per second. That is where the abbreviations “Mbps” and “MBps” originate. The “ps” is an abbreviation for “per second.”
Why You Should Be Aware of Both Megabit and Megabyte?
A megabit is not synonymous with a megabyte. We all require internet access at home, and it’s always about cable broadband. Frequently, they advertise packages with speeds of “up to 50Mbps” or “100Mbps” and the like. It’s critical to understand what you’re paying for.
While you may believe that a 100Mbps subscription provides super-fast speeds, you would be mistaken (it is still quite fast), do not anticipate downloading a 100MB file in less than a second.
That is because when Internet Service Providers (ISPs) advertise a connection speed of “up to 100Mbps,” they are referring to 100 megabits per second, not 100 megabytes per second.
If you have a 100Mbps connection, this translates to 12.5MBps, which is less spectacular. Divide 100 by eight to obtain this value (eight bits go into one megabit). This equates to 50MBps with a 400Mbps connection at home. Thus, the larger number is far more remarkable than the smaller one, correct?