What is a Bit?

Bit is short for Binary Digit. A bit is the smallest unit of data in computing and digital communications.

What is a bit

What is a bit

In simple and relevant terms, computers (and other digital devices) communicate in binary which is a sequence of 0 (zeros) and 1 (One).

A single zero or one is known as a one bit.  In computer storage, bits are often grouped together in 8-bit clusters called a byte.

 

All digital documents, sounds, video, images or other digital information is stored and transmitted as Zeroes and Ones.

Broadband speed is measured in how many thousands or millions of bits can be sent (upload) or received (download) per second.

We convert bits to kilobit (Kb) to Megabits (Mb) to Gigabits (Gb) and to Terabits (Tb) to make it easier to refer to the numbers.

If we didn’t make the conversion of Kilobits to Megabits (Mb) or Gigabits (Gb) , broadband speed would be advertised in numbers such as 67,108,864 bits per second (which is only 8Mbps).

This is pretty much the same as we do for measurements such as millimetres to centimetres to meters etc.

How to convert bits into Megabits, Gigabits and Terabits

  • A kilobit (kb) is 1,024 bits
  • A megabit (Mb) is 1,024 kilobits
  • A gigabit (Gb) is 1,024 megabits
  • A terabit (Tb) is 1,024 gigabits.

The more bits that can be sent per second, the faster the performance of your internet connection.

More in-depth reading on ‘what is a bit’:

Video explainer of bits and bytes

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