Bits Per Second (bps)


Bps (bits per second) is a unit used for measuring the speed of transmission of data on a network.

What is bits per second (bps)?

Bps is a unit used for measuring the speed of transmission of data on a network of computers – that is the amount of information sent or received in a given amount of time. A bit is a single unit of digital information, represented by either a 1 or a 0.

bits per second (bps)
bits per second

The total number of bits per second (bps) that can be transmitted over a network link represents the bandwidth of that link. Because most network communication takes place at thousands or millions of bits per second, the following related units are commonly used:

  • Kbps = kilobits per second (103 bps)
  • Mbps = megabits per second (106 bps)
  • Gbps = gigabits per second (109 bps)




Bits per second is the standard measure of bit rate speed. However, millions of bits can be transferred in a second and measuring in single bit units can be cumbersome. To simplify data transfer rates, an International System of Units prefix is used. These include kilo, mega and giga.

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