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Gigabit vs. Gigabyte: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 17, 2023
A gigabit (Gb) is a unit of digital information equal to 1 billion bits, while a gigabyte (GB) is equal to 1 billion bytes or 8 billion bits.

Key Differences

Both gigabit and gigabyte are units of digital information, but they differ primarily in the amount of data they represent. A gigabit is specifically related to bits, the smallest unit of data in computing, with two possible states: 0 or 1. On the other hand, a gigabyte relates to bytes, with one byte equivalent to 8 bits.
The confusion between gigabit and gigabyte often arises in the context of internet speeds and storage capacity. Internet speeds are typically measured in gigabits per second (Gbps) because data transmission rates focus on the individual bits sent over a network. In contrast, storage devices, such as hard drives and flash drives, use gigabytes (GB) because they refer to the storage capacity available for files and applications.
It's vital to make the distinction between gigabit and gigabyte when comparing data-related metrics. For instance, a 1 Gbps internet connection does not mean it can download 1 gigabyte of data in one second. Instead, it can download 1 gigabit or 1/8th of a gigabyte in that time.
In the broader perspective of digital data units, both gigabit and gigabyte are among the larger units. They come after kilobit and kilobyte, and before terabit and terabyte. However, with technology's rapid advancement, the terms terabit and terabyte are becoming more commonplace, emphasizing the exponential growth of data in the digital age.
Ultimately, understanding the distinction between gigabit and gigabyte is crucial, especially in professions related to networking, storage, or data management. It ensures accurate communication and prevents potential misunderstandings related to data size and transmission speeds.

Comparison Chart

Basic Definition

Unit of digital data
Unit of digital storage


1 billion bits
1 billion bytes (or 8 billion bits)

Common Usage

Internet speeds (e.g., Gbps)
Storage capacity (e.g., 500 GB hard drive)

Smaller Unit

Byte (8 bits)

Larger Unit


Gigabit and Gigabyte Definitions


A unit representing 1 billion bits.
The company upgraded its network to handle 10 gigabits per second.


Contains 8 times the data of a gigabit.
This hard drive has a capacity of 1 terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes.


Often used in the context of networking equipment and services.
The router can handle up to 5 gigabits of data simultaneously.


A unit of storage equivalent to 1 billion bytes.
The laptop comes with a 256 gigabyte solid-state drive.


Abbreviated as Gb.
Most modern ethernet cables support at least 1 gigabit speeds.


Abbreviated as GB.
The software update is approximately 2.5 gigabytes in size.


Commonly used to describe internet transmission speeds.
Our service provider offers speeds up to 2 gigabits per second.


Commonly used to describe the size of files or storage devices.
This video game requires 50 gigabytes of free space.


Smaller than a gigabyte by a factor of 8.
This file transfer will take around 4 seconds at 2 gigabits per second.


A standard measurement for computing storage capacity.
Most smartphones now come with a minimum of 64 gigabytes of storage.


One billion bits.


A unit of computer memory or data storage capacity equal to 1,024 megabytes (230 bytes).


1,073,741,824 (230) bits.


One billion bytes.


(computing) One billion (109, or 1,000,000,000) bits or 1,000 megabits.


(SI) 109, one billion (1,000,000,000) bytes. SI symbol: GB


A gibibit.


(computing) A gibibyte or 10243 (1,073,741,824) bytes.


A unit of information equal to one billion (1,073,741,824) bytes or 1024 megabytes


Is gigabit the same as gigabyte?

No, 1 gigabyte equals 8 gigabits.

Can I convert gigabits per second (Gbps) to gigabytes per second (GBps)?

Yes, by dividing the Gbps value by 8.

Which is larger: 1 gigabit or 100 megabytes?

100 megabytes, as it's equivalent to 800 megabits or 0.8 gigabits.

Why is my 500 GB hard drive showing less usable space?

Drive formatting and system files can reduce the displayed capacity.

How long does it take to download a 1 gigabyte file at 1 Gbps?

8 seconds, because there are 8 gigabits in a gigabyte.

Do all files on my computer take up a whole gigabyte or gigabit?

No, most files are much smaller, often measured in megabytes or kilobytes.

Why are internet speeds measured in gigabits?

It's a convention to measure transmission speeds in bits per second.

How many bits are in a gigabyte?

There are 8 billion bits in a gigabyte.

Are data storage and data transmission the only uses for these terms?

Primarily, but they can be applied wherever digital data is measured.

Can a device support gigabit speeds but have a gigabyte storage limit?

Yes, as one refers to transmission rate and the other to storage capacity.

Why is there an 8-fold difference between gigabit and gigabyte?

Because there are 8 bits in a byte.

Why do some people get confused between the two?

Due to their similar-sounding names and related context in digital data.

Can I have a 1 gigabit file?

It would be an unusual size, but yes, it's theoretically possible.

Is there something bigger than a gigabyte for storage?

Yes, a terabyte (TB) is 1,000 gigabytes.

Are there smaller units than gigabit and gigabyte?

Yes, such as kilobit and kilobyte.

Do internet providers always deliver the promised gigabit speeds?

Not always; actual speeds can vary based on various factors.

Do professionals ever mix up the terms?

It's possible, but understanding the difference is fundamental in IT and related fields.

Which is used more in everyday conversation?

Gigabyte, as it's commonly related to storage capacities.

Is my movie download measured in gigabits or gigabytes?

Typically, in gigabytes.

Is it important to differentiate between them?

Yes, especially when dealing with data transfer rates and storage capacities.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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