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

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.


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

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

  •  Old dial-up modems supported data rates up to 56 Kbps.
  • 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.

How to Do Data Rate Conversions

For example, you can convert Kbps to Mbps with those rules. 15,000 Kbps = 15 Mbps because there are 1,000 kilo-bits in each 1 megabit.You can also use Google like this.


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