Data Speed and Size Calculation
Usually, data connection speeds are measured in bits (and its multiples) and file sizes are measured in bytes (and its multiples).
Bits and Bytes
The bit is the smallest unit of information. A bit can have only two different values, commonly called "0" and "1".
With 4 bits, there are only 16 different possible values (remember that 2^{4} = 16):
Bit 1 | Bit 2 | Bit 3 | Bit 4 | Value |
---|---|---|---|---|
0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |
0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 |
0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 2 |
0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 3 |
0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 4 |
0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 5 |
0 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 6 |
0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 7 |
1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 8 |
1 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 9 |
1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 10 |
1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 11 |
1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 12 |
1 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 13 |
1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 14 |
1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 15 |
One byte is a set of 8 bits. Thus, a byte can have only 256 different values (remember that 2^{8} = 256).
Two examples of calculations follow:
Example 1 |
My internet download speed is 100 megabits per second. I can download up to 12.5 megabytes per second (because 100 / 8 = 12.5). |
Example 2 |
To download at my hard disk's top speed, which is 55 megabytes per second, my internet download connection must be of at least 440 megabits per second (because 55 x 8 = 440). |
Multiples
In most units, multiples are in powers of 10. For example, 1 kilometer = 1,000 meters (note that 1,000 = 10^{3}).
But for binary data, multiples are in powers of 2. For example, 1 megabyte = 1,024 kilobytes (note that 1,024 = 2^{10}).
On the table below, the byte multiples are listed with their absolute values in bytes:
Unit | Unit Abbreviation |
Bytes (in powers of 2) |
Bytes (full number) |
---|---|---|---|
Byte | B | 2^{0} | 1 |
Kilobyte | KB | 2^{10} | 1,024 |
Megabyte | MB | 2^{20} | 1,048,576 |
Gigabyte | GB | 2^{30} | 1,073,741,824 |
Terabyte | TB | 2^{40} | 1,099,511,627,776 |
Petabyte | PB | 2^{50} | 1,125,899,906,842,624 |
Exabyte | EB | 2^{60} | 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 |
Zettabyte | ZB | 2^{70} | 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 |
Yottabyte | YB | 2^{80} | 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 |
The abbreviations of bit multiples are just like the abbreviations of byte multiples of the table above, but with lowercase B instead. Example: megabit → Mb.
Also from the table above, note that each unit times 1,024 is equal to the next larger unit. A simpler table can be written as below:
Byte Multiples | Bit Multiples |
---|---|
1 kilobyte = 1,024 bytes | 1 kilobit = 1,024 bits |
1 megabyte = 1,024 kilobytes | 1 megabit = 1,024 kilobits |
1 gigabyte = 1,024 megabytes | 1 gigabit = 1,024 megabits |
1 terabyte = 1,024 gigabytes | 1 terabit = 1,024 gigabits |
1 petabyte = 1,024 terabytes | 1 petabit = 1,024 terabits |
1 exabyte = 1,024 petabytes | 1 exabit = 1,024 petabits |
1 zettabyte = 1,024 exabytes | 1 zettabit = 1,024 exabits |
1 yottabyte = 1,024 zettabytes | 1 yottabit = 1,024 zettabit |
Some examples of calculations:
Example 1 |
A certain torrent collection is 3.19 terabytes. That's equal to 3,266.56 gigabytes (that's 3.19 x 1,024) or 0.003115234 petabyte (that's 3.19 / 1,024). |
Example 2 |
I have 900 GB uploaded, so I need to upload more 124 GB to get to 1.0 TB of upload (because 1,024 GB - 900 GB = 124 GB). |
Example 3 |
I have 9.90 TB uploaded, so I need to upload more 102.4 GB to get to 10.00 TB of upload (because 0.10 TB x 1,024 = 102.4 GB). |
Example 4 |
I have uploaded 10 TB and downloaded 100 GB. Because Share Ratio is the Upload divided by the Download and I can only divide numbers of the same multiple, my Ratio is 10 x 1,024 / 100 = 102.4. |
Media Sizes
Follows a table with the most common media and their approximate capacities:
Media | Capacity (in bytes) |
Capacity (readable) |
---|---|---|
3.5-inch High Density Floppy Disk | 1,457,664 | 1.39 MB |
CD | 737,280,000 | 703 MB |
DVD - 1 layer | 4,707,319,808 | 4.38 GB |
DVD - 2 layers | 8,543,666,176 | 7.96 GB |
Blu-ray - 1 layer | 25,025,314,816 | 23.31 GB |
Blu-ray - 2 layers | 50,050,629,632 | 46.61 GB |
Blu-ray - 3 layers | 100,103,356,416 | 93.23 GB |
Blu-ray - 4 layers | 128,001,769,472 | 119.21 GB |
The table above can be used with simple Mathematics concepts to plan how many media is needed to backup data:
Example |
Question: How many 2-layer Blu-ray discs do I need to backup 3.19 TB of data? Answer: Because 3.19 x 1,024 / 46.61 = 70.08, you would need 71 discs. |
Online Calculators
There are multiple calculators of bandwidth and file transfers on the internet. Some are linked below:
https://coderstoolbox.net/network/bandwidth.php
https://techinternets.com/copy_calc
https://www.calculator.net/bandwidth-calculator.html
https://www.expedient.com/file-transfer-time-calculator/