As a small business owner, you've probably heard a tech guy talk about bits and bytes and thought these are the same thing with different pronunciations…like the whole GIF debate. But these are two different measurements of computer data. Bits are the smallest unit of data while a Byte is a group of 8 bits.
You may be thinking that this isn’t relevant to you, but the confusing part for non-techies is that Internet providers (or ISPs) like Comcast report their speeds in bits. But most people think in terms of Bytes. Flash drives, hard drives, and other storage devices tend to always talk about Megabytes. This means that your Internet speed is slower than you think…primarily due to intentional marketing confusion by Internet providers.
When Comcast says that you’re buying 25 Mbps, they mean 25 Megabits per second. Since there are 8 bits in a Byte, you divide 25 by 8 to know how many Megabytes per second, which is 3.125 MBps.
You may have already noticed that Megabits use a lowercase “b” (Mb) while Megabytes use an uppercase one (MB). So you need to keep a close eye out for this when looking at any sort of data transfer rate. A good way to remember this is that it’s like Tablespoons and teaspoons. Tablespoons are larger than teaspoons and recipes use a capital “T” for them. In the same way, a Byte is bigger than a bit, and it’s represented with a capital “B.”
As a small business owner, the technical details don’t particularly matter to you. But you should remember that when Comcast says you’re buying so many Mbps that you need to divide that number by 8 to know how many Megabytes it is.
As always if your small business any computer support needs, contact NextPoint IT for a free consultation and assessment. We’re able to support any business in the Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, or Westfield, Indiana region.
Credit: Tim Ludden