facebook linkedin twitter

Technology Basics: Bits and Bytes

Technology Basics: Bits and Bytes

In business, everything is measured. Every minute is quantified in order to run the most profitable business possible. When measuring data the measurements you’ll most hear are in bits and bytes. Today, we’ll get into the various ways bits and bytes are used to describe the technology we all use.

When you go to buy a computer, some of the first information you’ll see are the size of the hard drive and the measure of random access memory (RAM). You’ll see numbers like 500GB or 2TB, and if you don’t know about computers, or more specifically, data, you would have trouble really understanding what those numbers mean.

The easiest way to begin to understand the measurements of data is to start with the bit; and the best way to think about the bit is as the smallest increment of data on a computer. Computers use binary (or base two) math which presents every would-be digit as a bit. Every bit can have a value of 0 or of 1, that’s it. Today’s computers generate bits through fluctuations of electric current that run through a computer’s components. These fluctuations in voltage into the ones and zeros that are used to transmit bits, process calculations, and relay data across your network.

The methods used of network message encoding include:

  • 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

(Hopefully these bits are encrypted so others can’t interpret them without permission.)

The byte, then, is just simply a fixed-length sequence of bits. Today’s technology organizes data into bytes to improve speed and efficiency of data processing. Since bits are such a small data figure, a byte (being eight times larger) is often thought of as the base measure for data.

Furthermore, since the rate at which data travels through a computer network connection is typically measured in time, the units that are used are bits per second (bps). Today’s computing networks are capable of transmitting millions (or billions) of bits per second (called megabits{Mbps}/gigabits{Gbps}, respectively), and the speed in which data is transferred, from machine to machine, keeps growing as both file sizes, and computing components rely on and can handle more data.

This is why you’ve probably heard of gigabit network switches and other devices. If a device supports 1 Gbps, it can transfer a single gigabit per second. Depending on your network requirements, your business might need more for traffic to flow smoothly across the network. Everything else on your network from the cables to the routers and access points, to the PCs themselves could also play a role in the maximum speed of your overall network.

By the Numbers
Every byte is made up of eight bits. A kilobyte, then, would be 1,000 bytes, right? Not so fast. Since computers are based on the binary system, it means that hard drives, memory, and bandwidth are measured in powers of two; and, 2 ^ 10 equals 1,024, not 1,000.

For most people, looking at the numbers in this way can be mightily confusing.

The best way is to give examples of where bits and bytes come into play in day-to-day computing. One example is that of an IP address. IP addresses in Internet Protocol (IP) consist of 32 bits (or four bytes). The IP address has values of 192, 168, 1, and 1 for each of its bytes. The encoding of that IP address in bits looks like this:

11000000 10101000 00000001 000000001

This means that:

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

Convert Bits to Bytes (and Beyond)
If you (for some reason) need to convert bit and byte, here is the conversion table:

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

If you were to convert 4 kilobytes into bits, you’d have to convert kilobytes to bytes (4 x 1,024) and then use that total (4,096) to convert to bits (8 x 4,096 = 32,768).

So for consumers, when you purchase a hard drive that has 1 terabyte of data, it actually has about 8 trillion bits. Why do we use the term “about?” Hard drive manufacturers are assuming a rounded 1000 megabytes per gigabyte, while most computers use the 1,024 number. This means when you purchase a 1 terabyte hard drive, you’ll immediately notice about 35 gigs aren’t available. Plus, your operating system will require a small amount of space for the disk.

Computing isn’t magic, as it must sometimes seem to the layman. It is a structured system with very static rules. If you would like to learn more about computers, technology, and how it is deployed for business and personal use, look around our blog. We produce a lot of useful and interesting technology-based content that can help you understand the often-confusing technology world.

To talk to one of our technology professionals, call us at (703) 821-8200.

Automation Helps Deliver Secure Networks and Infra...
Technology Addiction is a Problem in Children and ...


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Friday, October 19, 2018

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR-Code dieser Seite

Tag Cloud

Security Tip of the Week Technology Best Practices Privacy Internet Cloud Business Management Business Computing Software Hackers Microsoft Backup Managed Service Provider Workplace Tips Productivity Data Hardware Saving Money Business Email Malware Network Security IT Services IT Support Hosted Solutions Efficiency Google Small Business Computer Smartphones User Tips Gadgets Quick Tips Mobile Devices Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Innovation Virtualization Network Microsoft Office Android Mobile Office Social Media Mobile Device Management VoIP Server Smartphone Collaboration Communication Miscellaneous Upgrade Ransomware Windows 10 Unified Threat Management Data Backup Windows Data Recovery IT Support Passwords Tech Term Operating System Remote Monitoring Managed IT services Vendor Management Holiday BYOD Remote Computing Mobile Computing communications Facebook WiFi Productivity Apps Cybersecurity BDR The Internet of Things Analytics Marketing Apple Users Automation History Firewall Internet of Things Phishing Managed IT Services Mobile Device Alert Outsourced IT Data Management App Browser IT Consultant Save Money Artificial Intelligence Bandwidth Maintenance Content Filtering Spam Going Green Gmail Encryption Health Bring Your Own Device Antivirus Office Big data Office 365 Budget Lithium-ion Battery Printer Managed IT Best Practice Information Technology Two-factor Authentication Tech Support Hiring/Firing Virus Hard Drives Cybercrime Help Desk Wireless Technology Search Cost Management Windows 8 Outlook Money Cloud Computing Document Management IBM Computers Recovery Saving Time Employer-Employee Relationship Phone System VPN Travel Business Technology Training Hacking Update Hard Drive Law Enforcement Save Time Windows 10 Humor Compliance Customer Service Data storage Running Cable Proactive IT Website Government Access Control Networking Legal It Management Intranet Education Regulations Administration Risk Management SaaS Business Intelligence Robot Data Breach Digital Payment Securty iPhone Mobility Downtime Project Management User Social Engineering Solid State Drive Comparison Tablet Excel Black Market Wireless Company Culture Flexibility Computer Repair DDoS Customer Relationship Management Social Networking Laptop Augmented Reality Information Business Growth PowerPoint Twitter Current Events Machine Learning Word Data Security Telephone Systems Password Cortana Patch Management Blockchain Paperless Office Sports Data Loss Hacker Disaster Computing Applications File Sharing End of Support Avoiding Downtime Fax Server Hosted Solution USB Chrome Managed Service Presentation Conferencing Google Maps IT service Digital Politics Vendor Router Pain Points Virtual Reality Emails Specifications Safety Websites Automobile Computer Accessories Virtual Desktop Monitoring Social Bluetooth Start Menu Chromebook Tech Terms Mobile Technology Documents Computing Infrastructure Hack Trending Software as a Service How To Mouse Heating/Cooling Cryptocurrency Storage Google Docs Management Private Cloud Uninterrupted Power Supply Download Experience Programming Gaming Console Statistics Telephony Network Congestion Monitors Vulnerabilities Bitcoin Cleaning Retail Office Tips Webcam Healthcare Text Messaging Data Protection Taxes Co-managed IT eWaste User Error Distributed Denial of Service Streaming Media YouTube Value Public Cloud Unified Communications Settings Scam Inbound Marketing Processors Lifestyle Identity Theft Redundancy Net Neutrality CCTV Business Owner Leadership Fiber-Optic Database Touchscreen News Device Management Permissions Language Adminstration Pirating Information HTML VoIP Notifications IP Address Business Managemenet Consultation Telephone System Reliable Computing Evernote Bookmark Content Management Best Practives Mobile Security Business Metrics Knowledge Computer Malfunction Music Multi-Factor Security Cost Technology Tips Human Resources switches Writing Software License Trends In Internet of Things Virtual Assistant Application Audit Upgrades Microserver Fraud Tactics Fake News online Currency Devices Scalability Data Warehousing Browsers LiFi UTM Content Motion Sickness Legislation Access Error Messenger Tracking User Tip Get More Done Upselling IT Plan Enterprise Resource Planning Emergency Hard Drive Disposal Digital Signature LinkedIn Accountants A.I. Rental Service Computer Care Meetings Entertainment Deep Learning Turn Key email scam Addiction Microsoft Excel Teamwork Printer Server Work/Life Balance Video Surveillance Skype Saving ZTime Google Drive Windows Server 2008 Cabling Archive Visible Light Communication Trojan Memory Multi-factor Authentication Web Server Organize Wireless Headphones Spyware Telephone Books Mobile Payment Workers PDF IT consulting Migration Connected Devices Wi-Fi Vulnerability Administrator Equifax Electricity Fleet Tracking Printing Supercomputer Point of Contact Harddrive Network Management Best Available Keyboard Debate Domains CIO Windows 7 Worker Advertising Flash GPS Device security MSP Microchip Staffing Google Wallet External Harddrive Nanotechnology cache Social Network Reading Television Samsung Proxy Server Windows XP Desktop Finance Public Speaking Startup WannaCry Asset Tracking Downloads Employer Employee Relationship Electronic Medical Records Analytic Displays Business Cards Service Level Agreement G Suite Recycling Shortcut Society Webinar Troubleshooting Product Reviews Micrsooft Thin CLient Unified Threat Management Backup and Disaster Recovery Time Management Freedom of Information Licensing Entrepreneur 3D Ebay Corporate Profile Username Hacks Physical Security Drones Smart Phones Screen Reader Assessment Customer Resource management Relocation SharePoint Tablets Dark Web Environment Read Gamification Banking Botnet HIPAA Smart Tech Distribution Google Calendar Health IT Electronic Payment Piracy Upload Sync Tip of the week Competition Managing Stress Regulation Capital Productuvuty Data Analysis Printers 3D Printing CrashOverride