Last updateTue, 15 Jul 2014 3pm
Century 21 Ajijic

Bits & bytes: You mean there is a difference?

While I was waiting in the customer service line in the office of one of the local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) I could not help but overhear someone’s complaint.

Against a polite company employee an irate gringo was inveighing that he had signed up for 5MB per second internet speed but was getting only 5Mb per second.  Let me put that another way.  He was fuming that he thought he had signed up for 5MBps internet but was getting only 5Mbps.  Still not clear?  This fellow was upset because the ISP was delivering him a broadband internet connection speed of 5 megabits per second when he though he should be entitled to 5 megabytes per second.  “Bits or bytes, what’s the difference?” he demanded of the employee who could only smile and try to explain why 5 megabits per second broadband speed is not 5 megabytes of data per second.

There is a little difference between bits and bytes, just as one could say there is a little difference between a millimeter and a centimeter, or an inch and a foot.

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