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Thursday, October 04, 2012


In data communications, a kilobit is a thousand (103) bits. It's commonly used for measuring the amount of data that is transferred in a second between two telecommunication points. Kilobits per second is usually shortened to Kbps.*
Some sources define a kilobit to mean 1,024 (that is, 210) bits. Although the bit is a unit of the binary number system, bits in data communications are discrete signal pulses and have historically been counted using the decimal number system. For example, 28.8 kilobits per second (Kbps) is 28,800 bits per second. Because of computer architecture and memory address boundaries, bytes are always some multiple or exponent of two. See kilobyte, etc.
Note: In international English outside the U.S., the equivalent usage is "kbps" or "kbits s-1."
As a measure of computer memory or storage, a kilobyte (KB or Kbyte*) is approximately a thousand bytes (actually, 2 to the 10th power, or decimal 1,024 bytes).
* Note: In international English outside the U.S., the equivalent usage is sometimes "kbyte".
A byte is abbreviated with a "B". (A bit is abbreviated with a small "b".) Computer storage is usually measured in byte multiples. For example, an 820 MB hard drive holds a nominal 820 million bytes - or megabytes - of data. Byte multiples are based on powers of 2 and commonly expressed as a "rounded off" decimal number. For example, one megabyte ("one million bytes") is actually 1,048,576 (decimal) bytes. (Confusingly, however, some hard disk manufacturers and dictionary sources state that bytes for computer storage should be calculated as powers of 10 so that a megabyte really would be one million decimal bytes.)