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Bits Per Second Explained

What does bit rate (Kbps, Mbps and Gbps) mean, which is the fastest?

The data rate of a network connection is usually measured in bits per second, often abbreviated as bps rather than b/s. Network equipment manufacturers use the standard units Kbps, Mbps, and Gbps to evaluate the maximum level of network bandwidth their products support.

They are sometimes called Internet speed units because as network speeds increase, it becomes easier to express them in units of thousands (kilo), millions (mega), or billions (giga) at a time.

definition

Since kilo- represents a thousandth of a value, it is used to represent the minimum speed of the group:

  • 1 kilobit per second equals 1,000 bits per second. This is sometimes written as kbps, Kb/sec, or Kb/s, but they mean the same thing.
  • One megabit per second is equal to 1000 Kbps or one million bps. It is also expressed in Mbps, Mb/sec, and Mb/s.
  • 1 Gb per second equals 1,000 Mbps, 1 million Kbps, or 1 billion bps. It is also abbreviated as Gbps, Gb/sec and Gb/s.

John Lamb/Getty Images

Avoid confusing bits and bytes

For historical reasons, data rates for disk drives and some other offline computing devices are sometimes shown in bytes per second (bps for capital B) rather than bits per second (bps for capital “b”).

  • One KBps is equal to one kilobyte per second
  • One megabyte per second equals one megabyte per second
  • 1 GBps equals 1 GB/sec

Since one byte is equal to eight bits, these classifications can be converted to the corresponding small “b” form by simply multiplying by 8:

  • 1 KBps equals 8 Kbps
  • 1 MBps equals 8 Mbps
  • 1 Gbps equals 8 Gbps

To avoid confusion between bits and bytes, network professionals always express network connection speed in bps (lowercase “b”).

Speed ​​classes of common network devices

Network equipment with a Kbps speed rating is usually older and has lower performance than modern standards. For example, older dial-up modems support data rates up to 56 Kbps.

Most network devices are rated in Mbps.

  • Home Internet connections can range from 1 Mbps to 100 Mbps and beyond.
  • Wi-Fi connection speed 802.11g 54 Mbps
  • The speed of the old ethernet connection is 100 Mbps
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n link speeds of 150 Mbps, 300 Mbps, and higher increments

High-end devices have speed ratings in Gbps:

  • Gigabit Ethernet supports 1 Gbps
  • Backbone links powering ISPs and cell towers support multi-Gbps

What comes after Gbps?

1000 Gbps equals 1 terabit per second (Tbps). Today, there are very few technologies for Tbps speed internet.

The Internet2 project has developed Tbps links to support experimental networks, and some industry companies have also built test beds and successfully demonstrated Tbps links.

Due to the high cost of equipment and the challenges of running such a network reliably, these speed levels are expected to take many years to be practical for general use.

How to do data rate conversion

Converting between these units is very easy when you know that there are 8 bits in each byte and these Kilograms, Megas and Gigas mean thousands, millions and trillions. You can do the calculations manually yourself or use one of the online calculators.

For example, using these rules, you can convert Kbps to Mbps. So 15,000 Kbps = 15 Mbps because there are 1,000 kilobits in every 1 megabit.

CheckYourMath is a cool calculator that supports data rate conversion if you want to try it out for yourself.

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Bits Per Second Explained

The meaning of bit rates (Kbps, Mbps & Gbps) and which is fastest

The data rate of a network connection is normally measured in units of bits per second, generally abbreviated as bps instead of b/s. Network equipment manufacturers rate the maximum network bandwidth level their products support using the standard units of Kbps, Mbps, and Gbps.

These are sometimes called internet speed units because as network speeds increase, it’s easier to express them in thousands (kilo-), millions (mega-) or billions (giga-) of units at once.
Definitions

Since kilo- is to mean a value of one thousand, it’s used to denote the lowest speed from this group:

One kilobit per second equals 1,000 bits per second. This is sometimes written as kbps, Kb/sec or Kb/s but all of them carry the same meaning. 
One megabit per second equals 1000 Kbps or one million bps. It’s also expressed as Mbps, Mb/sec, and Mb/s.
One gigabit per second equals 1000 Mbps, one million Kbps or one billion bps. It’s also abbreviated as Gbps, Gb/sec, and Gb/s.

John Lamb / Getty Images Avoiding the Confusion Between Bits and Bytes

For historical reasons, data rates for disk drives and some other non-network computer equipment are sometimes shown in bytes per second (Bps with an uppercase B) rather than bits per second (bps with a lowercase ‘b’). 

one KBps equals one kilobyte per second
one MBps equals one megabyte per second
one GBps equals one gigabyte per second

Because one byte equals eight bits, converting these ratings to the corresponding lowercase ‘b’ form can be done simply multiplying by 8:

one KBps equals 8 Kbps
one MBps equals 8 Mbps
one GBps equals 8 Gbps

To avoid confusion between bits and bytes, networking professionals always refer to network connection speeds in terms of bps (lowercase ‘b’) ratings.

Speed Ratings of Common Network Equipment

Network gear with Kbps speed ratings tends to be older and low-performance by modern standards. Old dial-up modems supported data rates up to 56 Kbps, for example.

Most network equipment features Mbps speed ratings.

Home internet connections can range from low values like 1 Mbps up to 100 Mbps and even higher
802.11g Wi-Fi connections rate at 54 Mbps
Older Ethernet connections rate at 100 Mbps
802.11n Wi-Fi connections rate at 150 Mbps, 300 Mbps, and higher increments

High-end gear features Gbps speed rating:

Gigabit Ethernet supports 1 Gbps
Backbone network links that feed internet providers and cell towers support several Gbps
What Comes After Gbps?

1000 Gbps equals 1 terabit per second (Tbps). Few technologies for Tbps speed networking exist today.

The Internet2 project has developed Tbps connections to support its experimental network, and some industry companies have also built testbeds and successfully demonstrate Tbps links.

Due to the high cost of the equipment and challenges to operating such a network reliably, expect it will be many more years before these speed levels become practical for general use.
How to Do Data Rate Conversions

It’s really simple to convert between these units when you know that there are 8 bits in every byte and that kilo, Mega, and Giga mean thousand, million and billion. You can do the calculations yourself manually or use any of a number of online calculators.

For example, you can convert Kbps to Mbps with those rules. So 15,000 Kbps = 15 Mbps because there are 1,000 kilobits in each 1 megabit.

CheckYourMath is a cool calculator that supports data rate conversions if you want to try them on your own.

#Bits #Explained

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