Mbps

Stands for "Megabits per second."

Mbps can refer to a measurement of data transfer speeds over a network, or to the bit rate of a video file.

Networking

Mbps is a measure of data transfer speeds, expressing how many megabits can travel over a network connection per second. It is commonly used to measure network and Internet bandwidth. ISPs advertise their broadband Internet service speeds in Mbps. Extremely fast connections, with speeds of more than 1,000 Mbps, may instead be measured in Gbps, or gigabits per second.

Different network technologies transfer data at different speeds. For example, some Ethernet connections are limited to 100 Mbps, while others can connect at 1 Gbps or more. A Wi-Fi router that supports the 802.11g standard can send and receive data at 54 Mbps, while a newer router that supports 802.11ac does so at more than 430 Mbps. A typical broadband internet connection can range from 20 Mbps over a DSL connection, 300 Mbps over cable, or more than 940 Mbps over a fiber optic line.

Video

Mbps is a measure of digital video bit rate in megabits per second, or the amount of data required to store one second of a video file. A higher bit rate means a higher-quality video with less compression. For example, an HD video stream at 6 Mbps will be clearer, with fewer compression artifacts, than a low-quality video encoded at 1 Mbps. A 4K movie streamed online may have a bitrate of 20 Mbps, but that same movie on a 4K Blu-ray disc can be encoded at a bit rate of 128 Mbps since it is not limited by Internet bandwidth.

NOTE: Mbps is not to be confused with MB/s, or megabytes per second.

Updated September 28, 2022

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