Network Synergy Blog

Network Synergy has been serving the Trumbull area since 1988, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tech Term: Bits and Bytes

Tech Term: Bits and Bytes

Running a business sometimes requires attention to very minute details, and some things must be measured in order to achieve optimal efficiency. You’ve likely heard the terms bits and bytes used regarding data storage or transfer, but do you know what the difference is between them? Today’s tech term is dedicated to this explanation.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you go to buy a new computer is how much data the hard drive can store and how much random access memory (RAM) it contains. You might see numbers like 500GB or 2TB. The easiest way to explain this is by looking at the basics of data measurement. You can think of a bit as the smallest form of data measurement on a computer. Computers use binary math to showcase each potential digit as a bit. Each bit has a value of a 0 or 1. These bits are generated by the computer’s electrical current that activates the various internal components. These changes in voltage are used to transmit the bits, process calculations, and relay data across the network.

Here are some of the methods used during network message encoding:

  • Wi-Fi carries bits using radio signals
  • Ethernet connections carry bits using electric signals of varying voltages
  • Fiber connections use pulses of light to carry bits

Ideally, the bits are encrypted so that they can’t be interpreted without permission.

On the other hand, the byte is a fixed sequence of bits. Technology today relies on organizing data into bytes to increase the speed and efficiency of data processing. Bits are often too small to measure data, which is why a byte is easier to use as the standard measurement.

The rate at which a computer network connection is measured is through time (bits per second), and today’s technology has advanced so far that it can transmit millions, or even billions, of bits per second (called megabits (Mbps) or gigabits (Gbps). The speed at which this data is transferred depends on the size of the file sizes or components transferring the data.

This is one of the reasons why gigabit network switches and other devices exist. If a device can support 1 Gbps, it transfers a single gigabit per second. Depending on your infrastructure, you might need to transfer more than this amount of data so that the network can operate smoothly. Other devices on your network will also play a major role in determining what your overall maximum speed is.

Breaking Down the Numbers
Since every byte is eight bits, you could safely assume that a kilobyte is 1,000 bytes, but you would be mistaken. Computers use binary systems, so your hard drives, memory, and bandwidth are all measured in powers of two. Thus, 2 ^ 10 equals 1,024, not 1,000. This makes looking at the specific numbers somewhat confusing for the average user.

If you look at everyday examples of this in practice, it becomes a little easier to understand and work with. Take a look at your IP address. This contains a string of 32 bits (or four bytes). An IP address with a value of has values of 192, 168, 1, and 1 for each of its bytes. If you look at the encoding of this IP address, it would look like this:

11000000 10101000 00000001 000000001

This means that:

  • 192 = 1100000
  • 168 = 1010100
  • 1 = 00000001

How to Convert Bits to Bytes (and Beyond)
If you ever need to convert bits to bytes or otherwise, here are the numbers.

  • 8 bits = 1 byte
  • 1,024 bytes = kilobyte
  • 1,024 kilobytes = megabyte
  • 1,024 megabytes = gigabyte
  • 1,024 gigabytes = terabyte

If you want to convert four kilobytes into bits, you need to first convert the kilobytes to bytes (4 x 1,024) and then use that total (4,096) to convert to bits (8 x 4,096 = 32,768).

From a consumer standpoint, if you purchase a hard drive that has a terabyte of data, it’s real value is about 8 trillion bits. Hard drive manufacturers measure content by rounding down to 1,000 megabytes per gigabyte, even though most computers will use the 1,024 number. This is why when you purchase a new terabyte hard drive, you’ll notice that about 35 gigabytes aren’t immediately available. In the case of a workstation, the operating system will also consume a certain amount of data on the drive.

Did we answer some of your questions about computing and the specifics of bits vs bytes? Let us know in the comments what you would like to see covered in our tech term articles.



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, June 18, 2018
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab

QR-Code dieser Seite

Sign Up

  • First Name *
  • Last Name *

      Blog Categories

      Travel IP Address Permissions Humor Browser Small Business Mobile Technology Automobile Public Speaking Workplace Tips Windows 10 Wireless Trainging Virtualization Disaster Recovery Tech Term Alert Network Network Management Blockchain Lithium-ion Battery eWaste Private Cloud Application Error Consumers Programming Downtime IT Consulting Mobile Security Hacking Servers Hard Drive User Skype VPN Facebook Sports Disaster Resistance Business Computing Cortana Retail Piracy Streaming Media Social Engineering Remote Computing Logs Content Filtering Deep Learning Data Backup Computer Care Smartphone Save Money Gadgets Government Printing Fraud Social Networking BYOD Virus Data Trending IT budget Best Available Domains Wi-Fi Saving Time Microsoft Office Point of Sale Google Analytics Help Desk Augmented Reality Digital Unified Threat Management Text Messaging Avoiding Downtime Assessment Tablet Outlook Software as a Service Language Google Maps Enterprise Content Management Webinar Data Management Value Supercomputer Black Friday Mobile Phishing Internet Exlporer Wireless Technology Tech Support Computing Infrastructure Project Management Save Time Patch Management Video Surveillance Nanotechnology Software PowerPoint Undo Budget Proactive IT Managing Stress Inbound Marketing File Sharing Cleaning Conferencing Ransomware Documents Customer Relationship Management Social LinkedIn Identities Vulnerability Office 365 Identity Mobile Office Network Congestion Macro Cookies Dark Web Encryption IT Support Virtual Reality Smartphones Superfish Online Currency Mobile Computing Collaboration SharePoint Company Culture Telephone Systems Bluetooth Customer Service IT Management Law Firm IT Router Regulations Entrepreneur Microsoft Website Marketing Mirgation Virtual Desktop Employer-Employee Relationship People SaaS Business Saving Money Computer Repair Health Antivirus Star Wars PC Care Legislation Consultation Microsoft Excel Display Running Cable Webcam Passwords Staffing Processors Work Station Knowledge Fun Experience Administration Current Events Net Neutrality Windows 10 Tracking Remote Monitoring Data Warehousing Networking Flexibility Data Recovery PDF Bring Your Own Device Halloween Hosted Solution Intranet Shortcut Cameras Corporate Profile Environment Relocation Recycling Modem Staff Excel Motherboard Google Technology Tips Google Drive Data Security Tip of the Week Business Management Robot Writing Windows 8 Fax Server Unified Threat Management Internet Safety Going Green Solid State Drive Communication Hiring/Firing VoIP Managed IT Botnet Vendor Management Cyber Monday Cabling App Laptop Business Continuity Competition Data storage WiFi BDR Computing Telephony IoT Tip of the week Healthcare communications Big Data Virtual Private Network Debate User Error Techology Memory Outsourced IT IT service Innovation Websites Co-managed IT Users Start Menu Infrastructure Tip of the Work Digital Signature Spyware Tutorials Paperless Office Backups Taxes User Tips Law Enforcement Mouse Cache Hardware Mobile Device Mobile Device Management Address Email Best Practices Licensing Identity Theft Productivity Password Apps Business Growth Sync Cryptocurrency Unsupported Software iPhone Computer Two-factor Authentication Management Google Wallet 3D Printing Education CIO Server Upgrade Chrome Hackers Office Tips Alerts Administrator Work/Life Balance Time Management Automation Quick Tips Samsung Internet of Things Lenovo Crowdfunding Digital Payment Cooperation Typing Hacker Congratulations Server Management Data Loss Presentation Operations Windows 8.1 Update IBM Training Printer USB How To Security GPS Utility Computing Managed IT Service Physical Security Backup Chromebook Machine Learning Downloads CrashOverride Android Technology Laws Risk Management IT Technicians Search Alt Codes CCTV Software Tips Notifications Disaster Technology Spam Twitter Managed Service Provider The Internet of Things Smart Tech Connectivity Hosted Solutions 3D Compliance YouTube Apple History Mail Merge Heating/Cooling Migration Politics Battery Electronic Medical Records Artificial Intelligence Meetings Cybersecurity Cybercrime Google Docs Leadership Business Technology Upgrades Miscellaneous Bitcoin Enterprise Resource Planning Office Refrigeration Privacy Analyitcs 5G Holiday Computers Document Management Maintenance Efficiency IT Solutions Thank You LiFi Money Redundancy Cost Management Recovery Managed IT Services Operating System Hard Drives Legal Multi-Factor Security Phone System Monitors Best Practice Hacks Secruity Distributed Denial of Service End of Support Gadget Uninterrupted Power Supply Wearable Technology Service-based Business eBay Cloud Computing Smart Technology Firefox Word G Suite Social Media Touchscreen Drones Gmail Remote Support Mobile Devices Screen Reader Statistics Access Control Public Cloud Applications Computer Accessories Comparison Storage Business Owner Food IT Consultant Mobile Data Windows Information Technology Bandwidth Personal Information Hard Disk Drive Productivity Cloud Scheduling Print Server Hotspot Troubleshooting Charger Malware Emoji Files Buisness Scary Stories Mobility Managed IT services Data Breach Google Calendar Motion sickness Black Market Specifications Settings Web Server Scam Gaming Console Chatbots IT Support HIPAA Network Security Unified Communications IT Services Crowdsourcing Break Fix Business Intelligence Firewall

      Latest Blogs

      On the surface, you might think that customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are the same exact thing. However, they both have very specific n...

      Latest News

      Our Site Has Launched!


      Welcome to Our New Site!
      We are proud to announce the unveiling of our new website at Network Synergy!

      Read more ...

      Contact Us

      Learn more about what Network Synergy can do for your business.


      Call us today    203.261.2201

      Fax Number :    203-261-2935

      126 Monroe Turnpike
      Trumbull, Connecticut 06611

      facebook twitter linkedin #youtube