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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    Educate me, folks, on transfer: gigabites per month vs. megabits per second

    I see transfer quoted as, say, 60 GB / month or 5 Mbps.

    Say, for example, what would 50 cents per kilobit translate into in terms of megabytes per month?

    Are these apples and oranges or two ways to measure the same thing? Please explain!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Washington, USA
    It depends on the host. In some cases they could be apples and oranges. Sometimes when people say 5Mbps they cap the rate of transfer to it. Whereas some are just referring to the average rate of transfer.

    GB just means the amount of data transfered.

  3. #3
    It is like two ways of referring to something.

    It might be simplier if you think of it as driving. In which case, GB would refer to miles and Mbps as Mph.

    If your bandwidth limit says 60gb per month, it might be the same as saying that if you want to drive, you can only drive 60 miles a month and nothing more. This would mean that you could drive 2 miles a day for 30 days or maybe 4 miles a day every alternate days or simply just 15 miles per weekend or just few miles a day, not drive for some and spike up to some more distances in some of the other days but all making up to 60miles in a month.

    If it is 5Mbps, it would probably mean that you can drive all day and night but your maximum speed is 5 mph. You can do less but not more than that.

    So if all things are relatively constant, the Mbps computation for bandwidth may be more advantageous to you . If it is eradict, then the gb limit makes sense.

    On the GB quota, it might mean that the server might be able to provide a higher bandwidth as and when required. If there is a 100mbps line, you might be able to burst all the way up to that when needed and drop to the 1mbps or less when the traffic tone down.

    If it is constant, then the 5mbps make sense since you have a constant channel open up to you.

    To correlate Mbps to Megabytes per month, you could apply this formula (taking into account at 1 byte is 8+1 bits) .

    (total megabits/9 bits) * 86400 secs (per day) * 30 days

    Thus 5mbps would give you a maximum of 1440 gigabytes per month.

    *Note : Someone correct me if I am wrong. - Offering Batch Image Processing and TIFF/PDF Software Solutions

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    If you read some of the posts here about "unlimited bandwidth" vs. "transfer," this is essentially what they're about. Bandwidth is, simplified, a measure of the amount of data that can be carried over a period of time. It can be measured in units like Mbps. It really wouldn't be reliable, to answer your question, to translate that into "megabytes per month" because it's a maximum rate achievable, not a measure of the amount you'd transfer.

    So to go back to that speed analogy, you might have a car that go 135 mph... if you ever need do. But you never do, and in a month you drive 1,000 miles. But you could have gone 135 miles for 24 hours a day for 30 days, or 97,200 miles.

    Sometimes if you're being billed by bandwidth you'll be billed for the maximum you achieved over the month, or a percentage of that (for example, the "95th percentile rule," or "average bandwidth"). Sometimes you simply pay based on the maximum that it's technically possible for you to "burst," whether you ever come close to it or not. That's why JTY said "it depends on the host." There are several different ways to bill for it.

    You could look at bandwidth-usage biling as similar to a toll road where your speed was monitored constantly and you paid, say $1 for each mph of your max. So you drive 100 miles on this road at 70 mph, and you pay $7. On another day you're cruising at 70 and then pick up to 90 to pass somebody, so you have to pay $9 -- even if you were at 90 only for a small portion of the trip.

    On another 100-mile toll road, you might pay 10 cents per mile. No matter how fast you go, you pay $10.

    As JTY said, it's comparing apples and oranges. They're measures of two different things -- just as when you complete your car trip you might tell someone you drove 100 miles, or you might tell someone you went 70 mph. Two different ways to think of your car usage; two different ways to think of your data transfer usage.
    Last edited by JayC; 08-24-2002 at 04:43 AM.
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