Mbps vs. MBps: What’s the Difference?


It’s often difficult to understand terms used for Internet metrics, such as Mbps vs. MBps.

What is the difference between Mbps and MBps?

  • Mbps means megabits per second. Mb is used in reference to download and upload speeds.
      • It takes 8 bits of data to equal 1 byte.
  • MBps stands for megabytes per second. MB is used in reference to file size, or the amount of data transferred.

You’ll spot these terms when you download a file from the Internet or transfer data from one device to another. They show the rate of transferal. Your connection speed (download and upload) will display as megabits per second. But, you’re downloading or transferring megabytes.

Let’s look at an example:

When you download or transfer a file, note when Mbps and MBps come into play. A file consists of a certain amount of megabytes. Say you download a file that consists of around 2 megabytes. You’ll need a download speed of 8 megabits per second to download the file in 2 seconds. Eight megabits comprise for 1 megabyte.

To calculate how long it would take a file to download over different speeds, you can use Google’s MB to Mb calculator.

When you shop for Internet service, how much Mbps you receive with the plan is crucial to performance. The more Mbps, the quicker you can download files.

How long will it take to download different media files?

Download times will vary based on file size and you Mbps. You will not always experience the
same Mbps because there are many factors that affect Internet speed – that’s why most Internet providers advertise
an “up to” Mbps.

Here’s a look at common media file types and their average sizes, as well as how long it will take to download
them based on various Internet speeds. These times are approximate, as file sizes and download speeds will vary.

Common media files Average download time (s=seconds, m=minutes, h=hours)
File type Estimated file size .5 Mbps 3 Mbps 6 Mbps 10 Mbps 18 Mbps 25 Mbps 35 Mbps 50 Mbps
Webpage 1 MB 16 s 3 s 1 s < 1 s < 1 s < 1 s < 1 s < 1 s
E-book 3 MB 48 s 8 s 4 s 2.5 s 1.5 s 1 s < 1 s < 1 s
mp3 song 5 MB 80 s 13 s 7 s 4 s 2 s 1.5 s 1 s < 1 s
5 minute video 20 MB 5 m 53 s 27 s 16 s 9 s 6.5 s 5 s 3 s
1 hr TV show 1 GB 4.5 h 44 m 22 m 14 m 7.5 m 5 m 4.5 m 2.5 m
SD movie 2 GB 9 h 88 m 44 m 27 m 15 m 11 m 9 m 5 m
1080p movie 12 GB 53 h 9 h 4.5 h 2.5 h 1.5 h 1 h 46 m 32 m


As you can see, higher Mbps result in faster download times. Consequently, you’ll want to consider Mbps when choosing an Internet provider and plan. If you download a lot of large files, such as videos and movies, or lots of music and images at once, you’ll have a better experience with higher Mbps.

What Mbps can you get with different Internet connections?

The Internet network type drastically influences the speeds an Internet provider can offer. Fiber optic networks are generally faster than cable, and cable is typically faster than satellite and DSL. Here’s an idea of the Mbps you can expect from each type of Internet connection.

Internet connection Delivery method Speed range (Mbps)
Satellite Satellite signal .5-2
DSL Telephone lines 3-9
Cable Copper cable wires 20-38
Fiber Light pulses via thin glass wires 45+

The type of Internet connection you can get for your home depends on your location. AT&T Fiber is expanding to cover more areas, but fiber technology is still limited to specific areas. Cable connections are more readily available, and DSL or satellite connections are available nearly everywhere.
When deciding on an Internet provider, consider your online activity and what you plan on uploading or downloading, and choose a plan that offers the Mbps that will best suit your needs. Now that you know the difference between Mbps and MBps, you’re better informed to find the right plan for you!