What is a baud rate?

Baud rate is a technical term associated with modems, digital televisions, and other technical devices. It is also known as symbol rate and modulation rate. The term roughly means the speed at which data is transmitted and is a value derived based on the number of symbols transmitted per second.

The data transfer speed of a modem is represented by its baud rate.

The units for this rate are symbols per second or pulses per second. Baud can be determined using the following formula: Baud = (Gross Bit Rate / Number of Bits per Symbol) . This can be used to convert baud to a bit rate using the following formula: Bitrate = (Bits per symbol × Symbol rate) . Baud can be abbreviated using the short form “Bd” when used for technical purposes.

The importance of these formulas is that higher baud rates equate to greater amounts of data transmission as long as the bits per symbol are the same. A system using 4800 baud modems with 4 bits per symbol will send less data than a system using 9600 baud modems which also have 4 bits per symbol. So, all other things being equal, a higher rate is generally preferred.

Mentioning the baud rate will often make older computer users nostalgic. When modems became popular in the late 20th century, they tended to use telephone lines and were often referred to by that rate. A new computer user might have started with a 2400 baud modem and then upgraded to a 4800 or 9600 baud modem as technology advanced and prices fell. Extreme changes in infrastructure and advances in technology have caused data transmission devices to become varied and more powerful, and this has resulted in people often using bitrate rather than baud to describe their speeds.

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The transmission unit is named after Jean Maurice Emile Baudot, who was a French telegraphic engineer and inventor. Baudot lived from 1854 to 1903 and is best known for developing the Baudot code and a telegraph printing system, which helped revolutionize telecommunications.

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