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What is Mbps?

When researching internet speeds, you’ll quickly come across the acronym Mpbs. While the meaning of Mbps is quite simple (it stands for “megabits per second”), the term invokes a fair share of complexity related to data exchange rates. Most internet speed ratings and other important metrics are expressed as Mbps, meaning a thorough understanding of this simple unit of measure can help you more easily select the right internet service plan.


Below is a brief but comprehensive overview of Mbps and bandwidth considerations from Omni Fiber’s friendly neighborhood internet techs – now serving communities throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania!


What is Mbps?


What Does Mbps Mean?


Mbps is what internet technicians use to measure bandwidth. Let’s break the term down step by step:


• Mega (M) means one million.

• Bits (b) are the building blocks of most digital files – a single 0 or 1

• Per second (ps)


So, Mbps means the rate at which two computers exchange 1,000,000 bits.


Regarding internet speeds, Mbps reflects the rate at which a network sends and receives data, the “upload and download” speeds, respectively. Network upload and download speeds can vary independently, so it’s necessary to determine whether Mbps refers to uploads or downloads.


Note that 1,000 megabits per second = 1 gigabit per second (“giga” meaning billion).


Video Bit Rates


You’ve also likely seen videos rated in Mbps, meaning the rate at which a device must process video file data. The following are common ranges for video bit rates:


• 1–3 Mbps – Low- or medium-quality video, such as on social media or website pop-ups

• 2–4 Mbps – Live video chat

• 3–5 Mbps – Subscription video streaming services (e.g., Amazon Prime or Netflix)

• 5–7 Mbps – High Definition (HD) video streaming


Megabits per Second vs Megabytes per Second


Pay close attention to the difference between megabits per second (Mbps) and megabytes per second (MBps). That single-letter capitalization makes all the difference. While lower-case “b” for bits refers to a single binary unit, upper-case “B” for bytes refers to eight bits.


Comparing megabits vs megabytes usually doesn’t come up when researching internet speed, but it’s important to know the difference. MBps is often used to measure the data transfer speeds of storage devices, such as hard drives, while Mbps is more appropriate for network bandwidth.


Of course, any measurement written in Mbps can be expressed as MBps – simply multiply Mbps by eight (or divide by eight to go from MBps to Mbps).


How Many Mbps Do I Need for My Network?


Higher Mbps means faster bandwidth, which is important for any internet activity. Even though most website data – like the webpage you’re reading now – doesn’t appear in your standard download folder, networked devices constantly upload data requests and then download that data in the background.


Many find it useful to liken Mbps and bandwidth to flow rate. A simple garden hose has a much lower “bandwidth” than a fire hose. The latter will deposit its contents (digital files) much more quickly into an empty container (a storage device), because it has higher bandwidth.


In the internet world, higher Mbps translates to several keystone benefits:


• Faster downloads and uploads

• Less buffering and smoother streaming

• Shorter lag time for video chat, VoIP calls, and online gaming


Determining the Right Bandwidth for You


To be sure, you don’t want to pay for unused Mbps, and it takes a little planning to select the right bandwidth. Omni Fiber provides several service tiers with common bandwidth thresholds for standard daily use:


• 500 Mbps: Suitable for HD video streaming and about 5–10 devices

• 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps): Supports online gaming, HD video streams, and 10–20 devices

• 2,000 Mbps (2 Gbps): For the heaviest video streaming and gaming, plus over 20 connected devices


Which service plan is right for you? The surest way to find out is to check our service areas and contact our knowledgeable internet technicians. We’ll gladly discuss your internet usage and recommend a suitable plan based on your usage rates.


The Most Reliable High-Speed Internet in Ohio and Pennsylvania


In just a short time, Omni Fiber has made 100% fiber-to-the-door internet service available to numerous communities throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. We offer no contract or hassle plans, and our services have maximum uptime with fully symmetrical internet (meaning the same Mbps for upload and download speeds). To learn more and select exactly the right bandwidth for your home or business, contact us and discuss your internet needs today.


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