© Ugur Akinci
If you’re a technical writer documenting networks and hi-tech systems, you should be familiar with these basic terms.
Megabits per second (Mbps)
Megabits per second (Mbps) is a network bandwidth term that describes how fast the data is (or “are”, to be grammatically correct) transferred through a network. It represents one million digital bits that move through a network. A bit is a single binary (either 1 or 0) message unit that corresponds to the presence [“1”] or absence [“0”] of electric current in or across a circuit or system component.
P.S. I admit that this is a somewhat simplified explanation of what binary data means. In reality, it all depends on the way data is encoded and converted to a network signal. In Manchester encoding which 10BaseT Ethernet protocol uses, for example, the TRANSITION, or the SHIFT to a HIGH voltage is what “1” (one)really means and the same transition/shift in the reverse direction to a LOW voltage is what a value of “0” (zero) really represents. And yet, this is not the only way One’s and Zero’s are encoded on a network. It all depends on the network protocol and specific rules of encoding.
Megabytes per second (MBps)
Megabytes per second (MBps), on the other hand, is a term used in computer programming as well as networking. It stands for one million (or, 1,048,576 to be exact) bytes. Each byte consists of 8 bits (ones and zeroes).