Bits per second is the bps full form. Bits per second are the measurements used to determine how fast information can be sent.
A higher number means that there is more data being processed at any given moment, but it also takes up more capacity on your computer or phone’s memory card because you need a lot of bits in order for all those letters and numbers make sense!
Here are your options in order of speed, from slowest to fastest:
This is the telephone, when you use it to make calls or when you call out on Skype. This rate is really low and very compressed, which makes for poor quality in both directions. It’s best to try and avoid this speed if you can.
Skype recommends a minimum of 14.4kbps for calls to be “usable”.
This is the fax machine, or an old modem from back in the 90s that was popular with BBS users. It’s really slow compared to the others.
This is dial-up internet, like what you would find in some rural areas (i.e. not on DSL or cable). It’s slow and kind of painful to deal with.
96 kbps (Voice/Fax/Data)
This is the speed you will find online while using a cellular network, like when you’re away from home and still want to get on the internet! It’s better than dial-up, but not by much.
This is what your computer at home probably connects to automatically if it doesn’t have a dedicated landline modem for internet. This is better than 96kbps…so use this one if you can!
144 kbps+ (Voice/Fax/Data)
If your household uses DSL or Cable Internet, then that’s what your computer will be connecting to everyday for all of its online needs. The speeds vary depending on how good the service in your area is, but it’s usually pretty decent.
This is the speed you will find on a wireless network or from your home router if you have FIOS or some other fast connection! This is way better than dial-up and even DSL speeds.
This is the speed you will see when connected to a wireless or wired network at work and again, it’s waaaaay better than dial-up.
A note on bps:
1 kilobit per second = 1000 bits per second
1 megabit per second = 1000 kilobits per second
I just wanted to throw that out there because all of the descriptions say ‘bps’ but they could also be referred to as kbps or mbps depending on whether they’re talking about kilo or mega bits. It’s important because 1kbps does not equal 1024 bytes (which is what your data usage might look like if you download a movie). Data allowance for cell plans usually refer to how many megabytes of data you are allowed.
A note on Mbps: While the upper limit it at 8 in some cases, in others it is 16 or 24 bit; this is called megabits per second (sometimes shortened to mbps). There are 8 bits in a byte, so when someone is talking about megabits per second they’re not technically wrong. If you want to say you’ve got 64kb/s download speed, that’s fine too. It’s just very common for people to erroneously say ‘kbps’ instead of ‘mbps’.