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What Is a Megabit? Is It the Same as a Megabyte?


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Question: What Is a Megabit? Is It the Same as a Megabyte?
You will often hear the expression 'megabits-per-second' when talking internet connections. But what exactly is a 'megabit'?
Answer: A megabit (Mb) is approximately 100 pages of plain notepad text. It is often confused with its big brother, the megabyte (MB). A megabit is 1 million bits.

A 'bit' is a 'binary digit', a small unit of computerized data. A bit is smaller than the size of a single typed character in an email. For the sake of ease, think of a bit as approximately the same size as a text character . A megabit, then, is approximately 1 million typed characters.

The Little 'b' vs. the Big 'B':

Yes, this is confusing. The little 'b' is for 'bit'. The capital 'B' is for 'Byte'. Hence, Mb and MB are abbreviations for the smaller vs. larger data sizes.

Example: My internet connection is 50 megabits-per-second download speed (50 Mbps)

This statement describes a connection speed of approximately 5 thousand pages of plain text in 1 second.

Example: My smartphone gets 4 megabits-per-second on my network.

This statement describes the cellphone connection speed as approximately 4 hundred pages of plain text in 1 second.

The Big Brother, 'Megabyte':

A Megabyte (MB) is 8 megabits combined. A megabyte is approximately 8 hundred pages of plain notepad text. Megabytes are commonly used to measure hard drive space and RAM memory.

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