10 Mbps Is Not the Same as 10 MBps

Internet speed is everything when it comes to browsing. We have gotten to the point where downloading 1 gigabyte of data will only take around 5 minutes or less, depending on your connection. The slower your internet plan is, the slower it is for websites and email attachments to load on your computer. That’s why choosing the right internet speed is really important.

However, there seems to be a common misconception of how some people interpret internet speed plans. What I’m talking about is the difference between MBps and Mbps. Notice that one has a lowercase ‘b’. They may be made up of the same letters, but are actually very different in terms of meaning and the amount of data they deliver per second.

Difference between MBps and Mbps

MBps stands for Megabytes per second, while Mbps stands for Megabits per second. 8 Megabits is equivalent to 1 Megabyte. One megabit is equivalent to 125 kilobytes and one megabyte is equivalent to 1024 kilobytes. So with those conversions, you can see that having 1 megabyte per second (1 MBps) is a lot faster than having 1 megabit per second (1 Mbps).

1 Megabit (Mb) = 125 kilobytes (KB)
1 Megabyte (MB) = 1024 kilobytes (KB)
1 Megabyte (MB) = 8 Megabits (Mb)

To scale this to downloadable files:

1 High-quality MP3 file size = 10 Megabytes (MB) / 80 Megabits (Mb)
1 720p movie file size = 1 Gigabyte (GB) / 1000 Megabytes (MB) / 8000 Megabits (Mb)

If you have an 8 Megabit per second (8 Mbps) connection, it will take around 10 seconds to download an mp3 file. But if it’s 8 Megabytes per second (8 MBps), it will only take 1.2 seconds.

SO WHY AM I TELLING YOU THIS?

Because this is crucial when you’re planning to apply for an internet plan. ISPs tend to take advantage of this confusion by using the acronyms in their offered plans. Most companies, if not all, use megabits because the number looks bigger than a megabyte. To an unknowing customer, which would look more attractive, 8 Mbps or 1 MBps? Of course the former because the number 8 is greater than 1 even though they are practically the same in terms of speed. People who are most susceptible are those with no technical knowledge or experience when it comes to networks and computers.

PLDT DSL Megabit Plans

In my case, I am currently subscribed to PLDT’s 10 Mbps plan, which gives me 1.2 Megabytes per second download speed. You can verify your speed using Speedtest. Speedtest can show Kilobytes, Megabits, and Megabytes per second results.

My 10 Mbps connection or 1.2 MBps

CONCLUSION

Remember, Mbps is not the same as MBps. If an ISP listing looks confusing, make sure to verify it with their staff or customer service. However, most of the time, they will always show the Megabits conversion (Mbps) on their Broadband and DSL plans. For Fibr connections though, sometimes they show megabytes per second to prove how fast it is.

Now that you get the idea, if you know someone who has a DSL connection and claims to have 10 megabytes per second, ask them about their plan and who knows, it may actually just be 10 megabits — as it usually is.

Elmer Balbin

Web developer from Bacolod, Google Local Guide, and casual DotA 2 player.

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