Bytes vs. bits and How Internet Speed Affects File Download Times  

Internet terminology can be a little confusing, so we’re here to help clear some things up about some common phrases and numbers used when measuring internet speed, file size, and how your subscribed speed impacts file download times.  

A bit (b) is short for binary digit, and bits are most commonly used to measure the rate of data transfer, like when transferring files from a USB flash drive to a computer. In addition, most internet providers measure their internet speeds in Megabits per second (Mbps). 
Bytes (B), on the other hand, are used to measure data capacity, like the size of a file or hard drive. 1 Byte equals 8 bits, and 1,000 Megabytes equals 8,000 Megabits. 

Now that we know the difference between bits and Bytes, this can help give us an idea of the amount of time needed to download files on several different internet speeds. Let’s take a look at a video game that is 50 Gigabytes (GB) in size expanding on the calculations for bits and Bytes discussed earlier. 
So, 50 GB equals 50,000 Megabytes (MB), and 50,000 MB equals 400,000 Megabits. To figure out how long it will take to download a file on a given internet speed, we need to take the total file size in Megabits and divide it by the internet speed, measured in Megabits per second. 

On a 50 Megabits per second (Mbps) internet speed, that would look like: 400,000 / 50 = 8,000 seconds. That means that a 50 GB file will take about 8,000 seconds to download on an internet speed of 50 Mbps. That’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes. 
Next, let’s take a look at the math for an internet speed of 1,000 Mbps, also known as 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps). 400,000 Megabits / 1,000 Megabits per second = 400 seconds. That means that the same 50 GB file will take about 400 seconds to download on a 1,000 Mbps internet speed, or just over 5 minutes. 
That’s the power of high-speed internet!