How to calculate internet speed
Internet speed is most commonly calculated in terms of megabits per second, or Mbps.
A bit is the smallest unit of data in digital communications: your basic 1 or 0 in binary code. The abbreviation of “bps” refers to the number of bits that transfer between a network and a device (such as your computer or phone) in a second.
Downloading, uploading, and bandwidth usually gets measured in bps. But how many bps are we talking about? Usually it’s broken down into three measurements:
- Kbps—kilobits per second (1,000 bps)
- Mbps—megabits per second (1,000 Kbps)
- Gbps—gigabits per second (1,000 Mbps)
Kbps is less than 1 Mbps, so it represents the slowest speeds possible: basically what you would have gotten over a dial-up connection in the 1990s. Gbps, on the othe hand, is way fast: most internet providers in America can barely hit 1 Gbps.
Mbps is the range most internet speeds come in. The Federal Communications Commission defines high-speed, broadband internet as a connection with 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds.2