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Why do internet providers advertise in bits and not bytes?

#131urtvPosted 8/8/2014 8:03:57 PM
because in america, size matters.bigger is better
#132MeCaranaPosted 8/9/2014 6:32:26 AM(edited)
There is plenty of reason to get technical.

People does not seem to understand that in this line of work, (M)bps is how we call, refer to, and measure bandwith. Speed tests refer to Mbps, etc... That's the measuremeny for that in the industry. It works well, it reflects the physical reality. It's accurate.

They are being straight with people.

Now hard drive space, they use base 10 because they know most people don't know the math.

It's not misleading but customers could gain to have a little text saying xMbps gives you yMBps. However MBps alone is misleading. Both, or just Mbps if one must be chosen.

In my country speed goes with data usage, so it's not a problem.

Next I'll tell you why programs show Mbps but for now I need go.
#133MeCaranaPosted 8/9/2014 9:54:46 PM(edited)
So why is it that when you download it's displayed in MB per second?

Simple. When getting an internet connection, you're interested at what speed the data will be transferred physically.

When downlading in Firefox, the speed at which the bits travel isn't really that important. In practice, it may fluctuates, some packets may be lost and be resent...

No, when you download something you're interested in it's size (which is reflected in your monthly data usage) and how much of that size you received/got written on your disk. To estimate how much "weight" is left to receive, it shows you how much you get per second, in MBs, which is the measurement for data storage.

There's also the reason that while you download something, other bits travel back and forth on your networks. Programs (firefox, torrent software) don't monitor network traffic, they receive packets, open them up, write the data on disk for your download. If they monitored network transfer speed, it'd be un-accurate. It would have to monitor all traffic. So instead, it tells you how much it received, and how fast they receive packets, open them up, and write data on your disk, converted in storage measurements.


Simple as that.

Bits are the measurement for the connection speed aka bandwidth.
Bytes are the measurement for data storage.

Like I mentioned above, the customers, yes, would gain to have an estimate show to them on the website/contract of how many MB per second a given speed (displayed in Mbps) gives, but, the Mbps information needs to be there for it to be honest.

A friendly reminder that I'm keeping this simple and brief. There are nuances at play, but this should provide a simple, solid base for understanding.