Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between MHz and Mbps

MHz VS Mbps

In the dimension of transmission, these two terminologies “MHz” and “Mbps” are often used and are confused by common people. This is most probably because they are related to computers themselves. But the terms do not directly relate to computers and create a myth about transmission logs. Actually, MHz and Mbps do not have any direct relation with each other since they originate from very different parts of science and technological terms themselves.

Now let us see clarified the differences between the two.

MHz

MHz or “megahertz” is a term used for measuring frequency. By “frequency,” we mean the rate by which a wave would travel per second.

F = v/λ;

Where “F” is the frequency, “v” is the velocity with which the wave travels and “λ” is the wavelength of the wave. Hz (hertz) is the unit of frequency, and 1 MHz is equivalent to 10^6 Hz.

Although being a property of a wave, this term is used in computer processors also. A processor frequency specifies the operating (internal) frequency of a CPU’s (Central Processing Unit) core. The higher the frequency is for a given CPU, the faster the processor is. Processor frequency determines how many Instructions Per Clock the CPU can process which accordingly affects system performance.

Mbps

Mbps stands for “megabits per second.” This term defines the speed of packet data being transferred along a network line.

One Mb which is a “megabit” is equal to 10^6 bits or 1,000 000 bits. Unlike frequency, data travel is digital not analogue. Digital data is converted from servers (or computers) to other servers. The conversion is done through a “MOdulator/DEModulator”; also known as a modem.

Internet working speed will depend upon the speed of the data packets sent and received per unit time. Basically, Internet speed works fine with approximately 50 Kbps.

Mbps is often confused with MBps. “Mbps” is “megabits per second” while “MBps” is “megabytes per second” where 1 “megabyte” is equal to 1,024 kilobytes.

Summary:

  • MHz is a unit of frequency while Mbps is a unit for the data transfer across a digital communication line.
  • 1 MHz is equivalent to 10^6 Hz while 1 Mbps is equal to 10^6 bits per second.
  • MHz works with analogue signals while a data transfer occurs digitally.
  • In computers, “MHz” defines the speed of the CPU while “Mbps” defines the speed of the Internet.

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5 Comments

  1. Please, take a look at the numbers because they seem to be wrong. BR

  2. Thx for this informative insight

  3. Hi,
    The formatting of the list at the end of this otherwise good article is going to continue to make people crazy. I highly recommend that the list be lettered, rather than numbered, and all entries need a space after the letter-period. Then, the second entry will read, correctly,
    B. 1 MHz is equivalent to 10^6 Hz while 1 Mbps is equal to 10^6 bits per second.
    Currently, it reads:
    2.1 MHz is equivalent to 10^6 Hz while 1 Mbps is equal to 10^6 bits per second.
    and in search engines, without any formatting, it is very disturbing to see “2.1MHz is equivalent to 10^6” when “2. 1MHz is equivalent to 10^6” is meant.

  4. Hi
    I guess definition of the frequency is wrong :
    ((By “frequency,” we mean the rate by which a wave would travel per second)),,,,,,,,,,this is the definition of a speed not a frequency

    frequency should be defined as the number of crests of a wave that move past a given point in a given unit of time.

    • Zillah brings up an excellent point, which highlights a significant problem related to mbps as well:

      When we talk about Mhz, in physics, we are talking about a repeating waveform which has a feature (usually the one peak point) in each repeating cycle which is clearly related to the same relative location in all of the cycles. (Cycle, period, waveform generally refer to the same thing when identifying frequency, but not always: a signal which is complex, as we will see, has a more complex description). The use of speed-of-transmission to define frequency presumes that the characterics of the medium are known, and a single point has been chosen in the path of the ‘important’ part of the signal. This is actually very little use in discussing computer signals, since the speed in copper varies depending on the presence and distance to other materials. In properly-designed Coax cable, radiowaves tend to travel about 1 meter in one ns (nanosecond), but faster in space (where very little matter is involved), etc. So the “number of periods passing a selected point of reference in one second is preferred.

      This is also important to keep straight because those digital signals which are measured in Mbs are essentially made up of a series of sinewaves (as demonstrated by Fourier: complex signals in time can be decomposed into simple, orthonormal series of certain waveforms, sine/cosine, sine alone, Bernouli polynomial-based pulses, Walsh Functions, etc.) and the original signal’s survival in transmission can be judged by decomposing it into sines, considering the transmission media’s effect on each sine’s frequency, then recombining the resultingly affected sines to see the outcome.

      For instance, a Square wave will decompose to a series of sines, the fundamental being Y and each successive sine being an odd integer multiple of Y. If the transmission medium attenuates (reduces the size of) components beyond the 13th component (frequency = fundamental * 13, called the 13th Harmonic in physics) the sharp corners of the square wave will become rounded. If the medium consumes all of the fundamental, the result will look nothing like a square wave at all. More important still, a modulated rectangular wave (i.e., data stream) will be considerably more filled with discrete frequencies which keep the sides vertical, the tops and bottoms flat and maintain the data content viably readable.

      So Mhz is important in data transmission and design of motherboards and such.

      Mbs (or bits per second or baud) have differing meaning depending on whether the focus is on the data payload, the data plus any parity or additional bits (EDC, start, stop), or data packets with headers, packet-wrappers, etc, is being considered. If a protocol demands enough wrappers with headers and meta info portions and other stuff, a 100-byte payload can become bogged with millions of bytes of non-data extras.

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