GIGABIT vs. GIGABYTE – Why is everything so confusing?

Do you get confused when you hear gigabit, gigabyte or megabit? Do you scratch your head when you see abbreviations such as Mbps? If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, rest assured you are not alone. We at Race understand this can be confusing, especially for those of you who live in unserved or underserved communities where broadband has been non-existent and we are here to help you navigate through this new terminology.

Many people confuse the terms “gigabit” and “gigabyte” as well as the terms “megabit” and “kilobit”. While both “bit” and “byte” are units of measurement describing digital data, how much they measure and how they are used are different.

A bit is one of the most basic units used in telecommunications. A bit is considered data moving so when we’re talking about internet speeds, the correct term to use is bits per second. Race’s “Gigafy Me” plan provides speeds up to 1Gbps, one gigabit (or a thousand megabits) per second.

Meanwhile, bytes are generally used when describing data capacity such as hard drive storage. One Byte equals 8bits. We measure the sizes of our files and the hard drives that store them in megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes. 

When we need to refer to numbers of bits or bytes as those numbers get larger and larger, we use the prefixes from the metric system (see table below for examples).

prefix multiplier bits-to-bytes bytes-to-bits
kilo- (K) 1,000x 1Kb = 125B 1KB = 8Kb
mega- (M) 1,000,000x 1Mb = 125KB 1MB = 8Mb
giga- (G) 1,000,000,000x 1Gb = 125MB 1GB = 8Gb
tera- (T) 1,000,000,000,000x 1Tb = 125GB 1TB = 8Tb

To distinguish between the two when abbreviating them, the lower-case “b” traditionally represents “bit”, whereas the upper-case “B” represents “byte”. Bytes are generally used when describing data capacity. We measure the sizes of our files and the hard drives that store them in gigabytes and terabytes (and, perhaps soon, petabytes!).

This can get confusing for many, especially if they are switching from a satellite or wireless provider that sells their packages based on usage, not speed. With Race, you are never charged for usage and you can rest assured that we won’t be throttling your speed after a certain amount of data is used. With us, you simply pay for the speed you want – and we make selecting a plan as easy as possible.

We offer 25Mbps as our Basic Broadband+ package and 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) as our “Gigafy Me” package. Both packages offer symmetrical speeds which means you are getting the same speed for your uploads and your downloads!

How fast is 1000Mbps or 125MB/s is in terms of usage?
Below are examples of files with the average download duration:

  • MP3 file — 3MB, less than 1 second
  • TV episode — 350MB, 3 seconds
  • 720p High Definition TV episode — 950MB, 8 seconds
  • Blu-Ray Movie — 15GB, 2 minutes

This post was originally published in July of 2018, and was updated in August of 2021.

How to buy that new router you’ve been putting off

Routers are everywhere. In our homes, apartments, schools. Everywhere we turn – but what exactly should you be looking for when purchasing one? Single or Dual band? Beamforming vs. Multi-User technology

What does all this mean and how does it tie into choosing your next router? Well for starters, let’s take a step back. The first thing is, what is a router? A router is a small electronic device that joins multiple computer networks together either via a wired or wireless connection. In simple terms, a router tells your computer/device which door to use to get on the Internet.

However, the market is flooded with options and the thought of purchasing a new router can be daunting to most – after all, picking a wireless router that delivers fast and reliable Wi-Fi, while maintaining excellent coverage, is no easy feat.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of four things for you to consider for your next router purchase:

Dual-band capability: The main Wi-Fi bands are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Most routers these days have the option to use either of the bands. Additionally, newer routers have tri-band compatibility.

Coverage and Range:  The strength of your router is another important factor to consider. With routers, strength applies to your signal. You want to look for a router that offers you to go the furthest distance, while still maintaining a strong connection.

Quality of Service: This function of the router allows you to prioritize bandwidth to specific activities or devices. It is particularly useful where there are several devices using the router. A wireless router with a fast CPU is advantageous for QoS configurations.

Security: No list would be complete without mentioning security. It is perhaps one of the most important issues to consider when selecting the best router to buy. When considering which router to buy, make sure it at least uses WPA2.

However, buying your own equipment doesn’t always guarantee better performance from your router. Always remember that at Race, you can skip the guesswork and rent a router directly from us. We offer tech support on all our equipment, so if you ever run into any technical problems, we can help you by troubleshooting it for you without having to send a technician to your home. Another great point about our routers, they come configured to the network. So there’s no extra setup, just plug and play and your router is ready right out the box!

With so many options out there, we know how hard it can be to pick your next router. Just keep these pointers in mind and you will be on your way to picking out the perfect piece of equipment for your household’s needs. Customers can also call us at 877-722-3833 if they have any questions about their Race-provided router.

This article was originally published in April of 2017. It has been updated in August of 2021 for accuracy and to reflect changes and advancements in technology.