What does 10 Mbps mean when using the Internet?


Today I signed a phone service contract which offers “Unlimited data at a maximum speed of 10 Mbps” and “EU roaming data limit 40 GB”. I picked it because it was the cheapest offer, but I’d be lying if I said I know what 10Mbps and roaming data limit 40GB mean or what I can use them for.

I’m not really computer or Internet savvy.


In: 0

10Mbps is just the internet speed. 10 megabits per second (iirc. Although that’s a pretty slow speed if I’m correct)

The 40gb of roaming data would refer to you using your mobile data in a country outside of your own, I would assume.

Means download speed of 10 megabits per second

Just over 1 megabyte a second given that there are 8 bits in a byte


Point 1 Analogy: You can use a road as many times as you can, but you can only drive at 10mph (instead of a toll road where you can only cross over it a few times)

According to [https://networkshardware.com/internet-speed/10-mbps/](https://networkshardware.com/internet-speed/10-mbps/), 10 Mbps is okay for 1080p streaming, but forget about 4k streaming

Point 2 (roaming) So it depends on the details, but based on the plain reading, that means if you go to EU, you can only upload and download the maximum of 40gb of stuff. In terms of analogy, you can only move (abitary unit) 40 truck load of stuff, and you can decide how many of them are from and to you.

Are you familiar with a bit? A bit is a 1 or a 0, the on or off state of a transistor. You can think of a transistor as a switch that is controlled electrically instead of by you. Turn the switch on, it’s a 1, turn it off and it’s a 0. 1,024 of these bits makes up a kilobit, 1,024 kilobits makes up 1 megabit. As such, 10 megabits per seconds means the internet connection is capable of sending approximately 10 million of these 1 or 0s in a second. To approximate that, a megabit is 1/8th of a megabyte.

I know that this doesn’t mean anything to a layperson so, to give you a more real world idea, here are some examples

– An average MP3 file encoded at 320kbps and is 3 minutes long can be downloaded in about 7 seconds.

– Your connection could maintain a 1080p video steam encoded at 4 to 5 megabits per second with some overhead available.

– You could download a 70 minute CD uncompressed in about 9 minutes and 20 seconds.

– You could download a 8.5GB DVD9 image uncompressed in about 1 hour, 53 minutes, and 20 seconds.

You could divide these times in half for a 20mbps connection, in half again for 40mbps, again for 80mbps, and so on. The math basically works, in a broken down way, like this:

– Take your megabits per second, divide it by 8 to get how megabytes in a second you can download

– Take your file size in megabytes, divide it by the first number you got, and you get how long in seconds it should take to download that file with your connection.

– You could then take that and divide it by 60 to get the minutes and 60 again to get the hours.