Definition of some Bits & Byte terms

Saturday
Bandwidth:
Bandwidth refers to how much data you can send through a network or modem connection. It is usually measured in bits per second, or "bps." You can think of bandwidth as a highway with cars travelling on it. The highway is the network connection and the cars are the data. The wider the highway, the more cars can travel on it at one time. Therefore more cars can get to their destinations faster. The same principle applies to computer data -- the more bandwidth, the more information that can be transferred within a given amount of time.


Baud Rate:

Contrary to popular belief, baud is not a direct measurement of data transfer speed, but instead it measures how many electrical signals are sent per second. Baud is used to measure the rate of electrical signals, or "signaling elements," for modems, networks, serial cables, and other data transfer mediums.
Some people think that baud and bits per second are equal. For example, they'll say a 28,800 bps modem transmits at 28,800 baud, and act like they know everything. But the fact is, most modems transmit multiple bits of data per baud, so while the the two values are related, they are typically not equal. So the next time your friend says his 56K v.90 modem can transfer data at 56,000 baud, you can kindly tell him that he is incorrect and explain to him the difference between baud and bps.
Bit:
The computer term "bit" comes from the phrase "Binary DigIT," which is different than that thing you put around a horse's mouth. A bit is a single digit number in base-2 (a zero or a one) and is the smallest unit of computer data. A full page of text is composed of about 16,000 bits.
It is important not to confuse bits with bytes. Both are used to measure amounts of data, but it takes eight bits to make one byte. The most common area where bits are used intstead of bytes is in measuring bandwidth (in bits per second). Why? Probably because it makes your Internet connection sound faster than it really is.
Abbreviation: b
Bitrate:
Bitrate, as the name implies, describes the rate at which bits are transferred from one location to another. In other words, it measures how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time. Bitrate is commonly measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). For example, a DSL connection may be able to download data at 768 kbps, while a Firewire 800connection can transfer data up to 800 Mbps.
Bitrate can also describe the quality of an audio or video file. For example, an MP3 audio file that is compressed at 192 Kbps will have a greater dynamic range and may sound slightly more clear than the same audio file compressed at 128 Kbps. This is because more bits are used to represent the audio data for each second of playback. Similarly, a video file that is compressed at 3000 Kbps will look better than the same file compressed at 1000 Kbps. Just like the quality of an image is measured in resolution, the quality of an audio or video file is measured by the bitrate.
Byte:
A byte is a unit of measurement used to measure data. One byte contains eight binary bits, or a series of eight zeros and ones. Therefore, each byte can be used to represent 2^8 or 256 different values.
The byte was originally developed to store a single character, since 256 values is sufficient to represent all standard lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. However, since some languages have more than 256 characters, modern character encoding standards, such as UTF-16, use two bytes, or 16 bits for each character.
While the byte was originally designed to measure character data, it is now the fundamental unit of measurement for all data storage. For example, a kilobyte contains 2^10 or 1,024 bytes. A megabyte contains 1,024 x 1,024, or 1,048,576 bytes. Since bytes are so small, they are most often used to measure specific data within a file, such as pixels or characters. Even the smallest files are typically measured in kilobytes, while data storage limits are often measured in gigabytes or terabytes.