Baud: The maximum oscillation rate of an electronic signal, used to measure data transfer speeds for dial- up modems.

Though far less substantial in the modern digital age of DSL and cable modems, it is still important for telecommunications. Many people confuse bit rate and baud rate, which is understandable, as baud is often used in conjunction with modem speed.

However, bit rate measures the actual number of data transfers per second. If you imagine all data bits as being either a 0 or 1, bit rate is merely the number of 0’s r 1’s transmitted in a second. Baud rate, however, measures the number of changes in a given time, and most modems transfer multiple bits at one time in small groups of data, or “symbols.

” Baud rate measures these symbols, and thus is smaller than the bit rate and modem speed.  The math is simple, as all you have to do is divide the modem speed by the baud rate to find the number of symbols per second, otherwise known as the signal transmission.

Think of the equation as such: MS= modem speed/ bit rate; Bd= baud rate; and st= symbols/ second (signal transmission): the equation, then, isMS=Bd x st. Now suppose we have a 56K modem (the fastest available) that transmits seven bits per signal transmission.

That would be 56K/7= 8 st, times 1000 because we are operating in kbps gives us a baud of 8000. 8000 is the peak of baud rate, after which data transfer is unreliable. Most modems can “autobaud,” or choose the most efficient rate automatically, but manual setting is still an option.

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