Megabits Per Second

What Does Megabits Per Second Mean?

Megabits Per Second (Mbps) is a measurement unit applied to digital data transfer rates (DTR) related to any type of media or computer. One Mb equals one million (1,000,000 or 106) bits or 1,000 kilobits (Kb). One Mbps is capable of downloading one million bits of data per second.
The International System of Units (SI) defines the mega prefix as a 106 multiplier or one million (1,000,000) bits. The binary mega prefix is 1,048,576 bits or 1,024 Kb. The SI and binary differential is approximately 4.86 percent.

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Techopedia Explains Megabits Per Second

Central processing units (CPU) are built with data control instructions for bits–the smallest data measurement unit. Bits are magnetized and polarized binary digits that represent stored digital data in random access memory (RAM) or read-only memory (ROM). A bit is measured in seconds and characterized by high-voltage 1 (on) or 0 (off) values.

Mb continue to apply to a number of measurement contexts, including:

Internet/Ethernet data: Download and data transfer rate (DTR) speeds as Mbps.
Data storage: 16-bit game cartridges with eight Mb storage, including Mega Drive (Genesis) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Random-access memory (RAM) and read only memory (ROM): A double-data-rate three (DDR3) chip contains 512 Mb.
Mbps is commonly used when indicating high speed data rates of mobile telephony systems. A typical Web file transfer is in megabytes (MB). For example, a network connection with an eight Mbps DTR must reach a Web DTR of one megabyte (MB) per second (MBps).

In 2000, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) incorporated the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) formal approval of SI metric prefixes (for example, MB as one million bytes and KB as one thousand bytes). Newly added metric terms include:

Kibibyte (KiB) equals 1,024 bytes.

Mebibyte (MiB) equals 1,048,576 bytes.
Gibibyte (GiB) equals 1,073,741,824 bytes.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.