# Mbps (megabits per second)

Megabits per second (Mbps) are a unit of measurement for bandwidth and throughput on a network. Each megabit is equal to 1 million bits.

Mbps belongs to a family of metrics used to measure the capacity and speed of data transfer. The capacity smaller than Mbps is kilobits per second (Kbps), with the prefix *kilo* representing 1,000 bits per second, and higher than Mbps are gigabits per second (Gbps), with the prefix *giga *indicating 1 billion bits per second. Using these metrics, 1,000 Mbps is equal to 1 Gbps.

A megabit is one million binary pulses, or 1,000,000 (that is, 10^{6}) pulses (bits). For example, a U.S. phone company T-carrier system line is said to sustain a data rate of 1.544 megabits per second, which meant a T line can transfer up to 1.544 Mbps.

### Mbps vs. MBps: What’s the difference?

Although they share the same letters, the abbreviations Mbps and MBps have different meanings. MBps stands for megabytes per second, with the *bytes* suffix referring to a unit of measurement for file size. In contrast, Mbps represents the *bit* capacity of a network connection.

A bit is not the same size as a byte, so Mbps and MBps are not interchangeable. Each byte contains eight bits. The following formulas can be used to convert each metric:

### Calculating download times

It should be noted that adding more Mbps of bandwidth does not guarantee faster network transmissions, which include upload speed and download speed. Bandwidth is a measurement of network capacity — that is, the maximum volume of data that can be transferred in one second. Factors like congestion and latency can reduce a connection speed or cause it to fluctuate. Internet service providers and network equipment vendors often advertise “up to” a certain number of Mbps, indicating a theoretical maximum that is unlikely to be achieved at all times outside of a laboratory.

- Convert the megabytes in the file size (100 MB) to megabits: 100 × 8 = 800 megabits
- Divide that sum by the connection speed (100 Mbps): 800 ÷ 100 = 8 seconds

### How are Mbps network connections categorized?

Among internet service providers, the most common sizes of Mbps speeds offered are:

- 8 Mbps
- 16 Mbps
- 32 Mbps
- 50 Mbps
- 100 Mbps

Among network equipment vendors, devices like switches are often advertised as “10/100 Mbps,” which means its ports can support 10 and 100 Mbps Ethernet connections.