What are megabytes per second (MBps)?

Megabytes per second, also written as MBps in its abbreviated form, is a unit of measurement used to describe the speed at which data is transferred to and from computer storage devices. It differs from the unit of measurement megabits per second, which measures network bandwidth and throughput. It’s also important to note that megabits per second is written with a lowercase b in its abbreviated form (Mbps).

What is MBps?

Megabytes per Second is a unit of measurement used to measure how quickly data and information is transferred. A byte is made up of 8 bits, with a bit being the smallest unit of data in binary code. Bytes represent, among other things, different numbers and letters. Megabytes per second should not be confused with megabits per second, which is abbreviated as Mbps, the difference being the lowercase b.

MBps refers to the number of megabytes of data that can be transferred within one second. The term megabytes per second can be broken down into three parts. The first part is the Greek prefix “mega-,” which stands for one million. The next part is bytes, which refers to data in binary form. The last part, per second, is necessary for the unit of measurement to communicate transfer speed and not just data volume. The size of data is represented in megabytes, or MB. A video, for example, needs 200 MB of storage space. If you were to transfer the video to a hard drive that had a write speed of 160 megabytes per second, it would take 1.25 seconds.

What is the unit megabytes per second commonly used to describe?

The unit MBps is used to describe the speed at which data is transferred to and from storage devices. This could, for example, be when data is read from and written to hard disks or when uploading a file to a cloud server using an Ethernet connection. It is rather common for browsers to display the number of megabytes being transferred per second. Using this number, browsers then provide an estimate for the total time required to transfer a file.


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What is the difference between MBps and Mbps?

When referring to data transfer rates in the context of internet speed, the unit megabits per second is used. Due to the rather subtle spelling difference between MBps and Mbps, these units of speed tend to get mixed up. It’s important to remember that megabytes per second is written with a capital b and megabits is written with a lowercase b. While both describe the speed of data transfer, they are used for different purposes.

MBps indicates data transfer speed when files are being downloaded or uploaded. Mbps, on the other hand, is used primarily for the purpose of communicating internet speed. Together with the ping command, knowing the data transfer rate for an internet connection (Mbps) can help you to evaluate its quality.

How to convert megabytes per second into megabits per second

Since one byte is made of 8 bits, if you want to convert a download speed shown in MBps into Mbps, simply multiply the number of megabytes by 8. If, however, you have an internet connection speed of 200 megabits per second and you want to convert it into megabytes, you need to do divide 200 by 8. The corresponding download speed would be 25 megabytes per second.

The table below shows typical internet speeds. In the left column, these values have been converted to kilobits and in the right column, to megabytes. To calculate kilobits, multiply the number of megabits by 1,000.

Kilobits per second (kbps) Megabits per second (Mbps) Megabytes per second (MBps)
50,000 50 6.25
100,000 100 12.5
250,000 250 31.25
500,000 500 62.5
1,000,000 1000 125
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