Navigating the World of Internet Speeds: What Do Mbps and Gbps Mean?

After moving into a new apartment or house, setting up the internet is often a primary task. For many of us, the most challenging choice about buying internet subscriptions is figuring out what telecommunications provider you’ll order from.  Placing the modem and getting the internet to work are the average final steps before never thinking about your WiFi again. But, like most technologies, your internet has many other factors that combine to make it more accessible, quick, and appropriate for your ideal usage. 

For most, internet speed vernacular isn’t common knowledge. If your file downloading is slow or random connection interruptions steadily occur, knowing about internet speed might help fix a problem or two. Mbps and Gbps are two measurements that homeowners and renters should know to ensure that their internet quality correlates with their individual needs. 

What is Mbps?    

Simply put, Mbps stands for megabits per second. Though many might be familiar with megabytes, a unit of measurement for digital storage, megabits are how one measures download speed. The higher the amount of Mbps an internet package provides, the faster the WiFi connection. 

So, how many Mbps do you need for adequate speed? If you use the internet for email checking, social media perusing, and other recreational activities, high Mbps won’t matter much to you. If you use the internet for streaming or downloading large movie files, a more significant Mbps number would be much more helpful. 

The equation gets more complicated once multiple family members, friends, and roommates utilize the same WiFi. When numerous people are connected to the same WiFi channel, the speed of the internet gets weighed down tremendously. If your modem isn’t restricted to one person, getting a WiFi package with a higher Mbps is absolutely imperative. 

When do you need Gbps? 

Like Mbps, Gbps is a unit of measurement for internet speed. Where Mbps measures one million bits per second, the Gbps stands for one billion bits, or one gigabit, per second. This type of internet power is astronomical, so determining when a home needs this power is critical before purchasing. 

So, how much power does one Mbps or one Gbps hold? One megabit can download one small photo per second. A gigabit could download 1,000 images within that same time frame. Purchasing an internet package from an internet service provider (ISP) with Gbps power would be sensible if the buyer continuously downloaded and streamed massive files. 

Even with a five-family home, all users would need to be streaming their favorite TV shows on 4K simultaneously to warrant having GPBS internet speeds. Purchasing this type of internet speed would be helpful for those needing to download large files quickly, such as gamers or streamers. Both types of users often utilize multiple channels, apps, and software simultaneously, which may justify a Gpbs capacity.  If there aren’t 20 people streaming movies from the same WiFi channel, purchasing an internet package with lower bandwidth will suffice. 

Though staying up-to-date on new internet vocabulary isn’t always essential, knowing the difference between Mbps and Gbps is necessary for any WiFi user. If your profession requires active streaming from multiple sites or consistently downloading immense files, opting for a higher-speed package would benefit you profoundly. If you use the internet for work and/or recreational purposes, you will likely only need speeds in the Mbps range.