• Ben Lake

Geek Speak: Bits Versus Bytes

Updated: Nov 4

You may have heard your internet speed referred to in “megabits per second”, or Mbps. You may have also heard the term “megabytes” (rhymes with knights), abbreviated as MB, but there is an important difference. And that difference is exactly eight. A bit stands for “binary digit” and is a one or zero that makes up the most basic level of computer programming. A byte is a block of eight bits. Therefore eight megabits (8Mb) is equal to one megabyte (1MB). Note the difference in the upper and lowercase B. To make matters more confusing, computers usually report data storage in bytes – for example, a 10 megabyte file or 500 gigabyte hard drive, but internet speeds are usually marketed in bits – for example a 100 megabit per second connection. So now you know and can impress (bore?) your friends!

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