Mbps, which stands for megabits per second, refers to the speed of data transfer as expressed in megabits.
A bit represents a digit of data, which in digital terms is either a 1 or a 0. Eight bits that are strung together is equivalent to one byte. Any character – whether it be a number, punctuation mark or a letter in the alphabet – will need eight binary bits, or one byte, in order to be able to describe it. For example these are the representative eight bit strings for the following characters:
A = 01000001
B = 01000010
a = 01100001
b = 01100010
6 = 00110110
7 = 00110111
! = 00100001
@ = 01000000
A megabit actually used two different values that change depending on the term that is going to be defined. Used as a way of describing the storage of data, a megabit or MB is equal to 1,048,576 bits. On the other hand, when MB is used in describing the speed of data transfer, then one mb will be the equivalent of 1,000,000 bits.
Aside from the confusion that is generated by the various uses of the megabit value, a confusion also arises between the megabit as expressed in mb and the megabyte, which is expressed in MB.
When it comes to networking technologies, mbps is what is usually used. This would include such services and equipments as powerline networks, phoneline networks, commercial netwoks like the internet and wireless networks. DSL service companies also advertise their stated speeds in mbps.