The standard measurement for bandwidth is in megabits per second, not megabytes.
This can cause some users confusion as they try to determine their download and upload speeds in relation to the file sizes they’re trying to access or send.
Use the converter below to calculate megabits per second (Mbps or Mb/s) to megabytes per second (MB/s) and vice versa.
Why Does This Matter When Choosing a Data Center Provider?
In short, transfer speeds. For most, an important factor in choosing a colocation or dedicated server provider is how quickly the client can access their data.
The faster the speed, the faster the user can upload their files and get to work more efficiently.
Clearing Things Up
When looking for a data center provider, you may notice a difference between how speeds are displayed on different products like dedicated servers vs colocation.
For example, the “speed” you see when looking at a provider’s dedicated server page is usually listed in TBs. This is the amount of data you’re allotted to download or upload typically per month.
Colocation, on the other hand, usually lists Mbps for speed and that number refers to the speed of the data being transferred and not your monthly allotment of bandwidth.
The difference is usually due to dedicated servers being rented servers and colocation being rented space (owned server).
Be sure to look at this distinction when you’re shopping for a hosting provider.
What’s the Difference Between Megabyte (MB) and Megabit (Mb)
1 megabyte (MB) is roughly equal to 8 megabits (mb).
Megabytes per second is not considered standard for network equipment but is much more common for labeling file sizes.
Additionally, you might be familiar with your Internet connection speeds at home which are described in megabits per second.
So when one sees a file downloading at 3 MB/s and they’re paying for what they think is 25 MB/s download speeds, they’ve simply confused the matter. What they’re really paying for is 25 mbps or megabits.
Note: Network speeds were calculated in bits long before there was even an Internet to download files. This and for obvious marketing reasons are why ISPs still sell speeds in bits and not bytes.
So, if you wanted to calculate how fast a 20 megabit per second modem can download a 10 megabyte file, the calculation would be as follows:
10*8/20 = 4 seconds.So, in the above example of the frustrated internet user, their file is actually downloading at around 24 megabits per second (mbps)—only one bit less than what they’re paying for.