Understanding Internet Speed: The Difference Between Mbps and Mb Explained

Internet Speed test

In today’s digital age, internet speed is one of the most important factors when it comes to browsing, streaming, or downloading content. However, the terminologies used to describe internet speed can often be confusing, especially when it comes to the difference between megabits (Mb) and megabytes per second (Mbps). In this article, we will explore the meaning of these terms and help you understand the difference between them.

Firstly, let’s define what Mbps and Mb mean. Mbps stands for megabits per second, which is a measure of data transfer speed. It is used to measure how much data can be transferred from one place to another in one second. On the other hand, Mb refers to megabits, which is a unit of measurement for digital information storage and transfer.

To understand the difference between Mbps and Mb, let’s take an example. Suppose you have an internet plan with a speed of 50 Mbps. This means that your internet service provider (ISP) guarantees a maximum data transfer rate of 50 megabits per second. However, when you download a file from the internet, the download speed is often measured in megabytes per second (MB/s). One byte is equal to 8 bits. So, if you are downloading a file at a speed of 5 MB/s, it means that the download speed is 40 Mbps (5 multiplied by 8).

It’s important to note that when it comes to internet speed, Mbps is the more commonly used term. This is because most ISPs advertise their plans in terms of Mbps, as it is a more accurate representation of the speed of your internet connection. However, when it comes to measuring the size of files or storage capacity, Mb is the more commonly used term.

When choosing an internet plan, it’s important to pay attention to both the Mbps and data usage limits. Mbps will determine how quickly you can download or stream content, while data usage limits will determine how much content you can download or stream before incurring additional charges or experiencing slower speeds. It’s also important to keep in mind that the actual speed you experience may be lower than the advertised Mbps due to factors such as network congestion, distance from the ISP’s server, and the quality of your router.

There are many tools available online that can be used to test your internet speed. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Choose a reliable speed testing tool

There are several speed testing tools available online, but not all of them are reliable. Some of the most popular and reliable speed testing tools are Ookla Speedtest, Fast.com, and Google’s internet speed test.

Step 2: Disconnect other devices from your network

To get an accurate result, it is best to disconnect all other devices that are connected to your network. This includes smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other computers. This will ensure that all available bandwidth is used for the speed test.

Step 3: Connect your computer to your modem or router

Connect your computer to your modem or router using an Ethernet cable. This will ensure that your speed test is not affected by the quality of your Wi-Fi signal.

Step 4: Run the speed test

Once you have selected a reliable speed testing tool, simply click on the ‘Start Test’ button. The speed test will take a few seconds to complete, and will provide you with the download and upload speeds in Mbps.

Step 5: Compare the results with your ISP’s advertised speed

After the speed test is complete, compare the results with the speed that your ISP has advertised. If the results are significantly lower than the advertised speed, you may want to contact your ISP to troubleshoot the issue.

In conclusion, Mbps and Mb are two different terms used to measure internet speed and digital storage capacity. Mbps is used to measure data transfer speed, while Mb is used to measure storage capacity. When it comes to choosing an internet plan, it’s important to pay attention to both the Mbps and data usage limits, and to keep in mind that the actual speed you experience may be lower than the advertised Mbps.


Photo by Frederik Lipfert