Tech Snippet #04: What’s The Difference Between a Megabit And a Megabyte?

Published on November 6, 2020

First of All, Whats a Bit?

A bit is the smallest piece of information you can have. It has two states that can be thought of as ON and OFF, UP and DOWN, LEFT or RIGHT, A or B, IN or OUT, TRUE or FALSE, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call them. As long as you have one thing that can be in at least two different states, then you’ve got a bit.

An analogy:

For example, a full glass of water could be ‘ON’ and an empty glass of water could be ‘OFF’. Or we could reverse it. We could define ‘ON’ as an empty glass of water and ‘OFF’ as a full one. We can take it a step further and say, ‘An empty glass of water means the trash needs to go out and a full glass of water means the trash has already been taken care of.’

It’s that simple. The thing is, we can’t very well go communicating by glasses of water. It’s not very efficient. Instead, we use electronics that are super tiny and can change their states far faster than water can get into or out of a glass.

Okay, Get to The Point, Tho.

Ok, sorry about going on a tangent like that. But, in my defense, I think the analogy is critical. Js.

A single piece of data is a bit, and 8 of those pieces all put together is called a byte.

So, when you have a million pieces of information, you have a megabit. When you have a million sets of 8 pieces of information, you have a megabyte. So, to convert one to the other, just divide or multiply by 8, depending on which one you are starting with.

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