We know that we can be guilty of putting out the odd bit of technical language related to our products without adequately explaining what things are and what it means, and broadband speeds are one of these. If you don’t know your Megabits from your Megabytes – and what this means for your internet connection – then this blog is for you! These terms might be evident to techie people – there are 8 bits in a byte – but, (and this is for the SoConnect tech team) we can’t all be up to date on the history of computing! 

Read on for as we explain some of the most bandied about terms when it comes to connectivity. 


A ‘Megabit’ (or Mb) is the term most commonly used to talk about an internet connection’s speed. The higher the rate of Megabit, the faster your broadband. A Mb is a multiple of a bit, and there are one million bits in a single Mb.

Usually, broadband speeds are communicated at a per second rate. Megabits per second (Mbps) is a measurement of data transfer speed.

To demonstrate this, take a look at two of SoConnect’s fibre broadband packages: FTTC 40:10 and FTTC 80:20.

The 40:10 package relates to maximum speeds of 40Mbps download and 10Mbps upload, while the 80:20 will double those speeds. The better the connection, the higher those numbers will be.

Bit/byte – which one is right?

A ‘Megabyte’ (or MB) is a measurement of storage. Megabit has a little ‘b’ (Mb), and Megabyte has a big ‘B’ (MB) – and they’re very different. Bit means speed, and byte represents storage. 

It takes 8 Megabits to make 1 Megabyte; this means that for you to download 1MB (Megabyte) in one second, your broadband needs to be 8Mb/8Mbps (Megabit/Megabit per second).  

So, (if you are still with us) say that you wanted to download a film that was 4,000MB (Megabytes) of storage, and your internet speed is 40Mbps, how long would it take? 12.5 mins. However, with a speed of 80Mbps, the time to download would half – 6.25 mins. 

A Gigabit 

When we look at some of the higher speed connections such as FTTP, GFast and Leased Line, we start to talk about Gigabits. There are 1,000 Megabits in 1 Gigabit (or Gb, or Gbps, or Gig). That’s a dizzying 1 billion bits!  

Here’s what you can do with 1Gb: 

· 18 seconds to download a TV episode

· 40 seconds to download a whole film

· 2 seconds to upload 100 high-resolution photos 

While we are about leased lines, other terms you might hear us talk about are symmetrical and asymmetrical speeds.

What does symmetrical and asymmetrical bandwidth mean?

Symmetrical connections upload and download data at the same rate. Standard domestic and business broadband services typically offer asymmetrical bandwidth, with upload speeds being considerably lower than download speeds.

What advantages does Symmetrical have over Asymmetrical bandwidth?

 Symmetrical bandwidth offers a range of benefits but comes into its own where high upload speeds are required:

• Upload of large data files

• Running Cloud services

• VoIP

• Online Collaboration

• Multiple types of data traffic – voice, data and internet

If you would like to know more about which type of connectivity is right for your business, why not take a look at our website.

Give our team a call at 0333 240 1824, or email sales@soconnect.co.uk