What is a byte?

We explain what a byte is, the origin of the term and what it is for. In addition, some features and their scale of measurements.

  1. What is a byte?

The basic unit of information used in computer science and telecommunications is known as a byte , equivalent to an orderly and regular set of bits (binary code), generally stipulated in 8. That is, 8 bits equals one byte, but that amount it can be altered, so one byte is actually equivalent to  n  ordered bits. This unit does not have a conventional representation symbol, but in some countries the letter B is used.

The origin of this term is assumed in the English acronym of  Binary Tuple  or Binary Tupla , which is equivalent to an orderly sequence of binary elements. 

However, the phonetic similarity of byte with  bite  (“bite” or “bite” in English) also meant its use since it was the minimum amount of data that could be fed to a system at a time (the minimum amount that could “ to bite”).

As for the amount of information that a byte represents, consider that approximately 8 bits are needed to represent a letter in the binary code of most commercial computing systems today, that is: one byte equals one letter , so that an entire paragraph may exceed 100 B, and a very short text will reach the immediately superior unit, the kilobyte (1024 B = 1 kB).

Thereafter, a whole scale of measurement of digital information quantity is started, as follows (according to ISO / IEC 80000-13):

  • 1024 B = 1 kB (one kilobyte, equivalent to a very short text )
  • 1024 kB = 1 mB (one megabyte, equivalent to a complete novel )
  • 1024 mB = 1 gB (one gigabyte, equivalent to an entire library shelf full of books)
  • 1024 gB = 1 tB (one terabyte, equivalent to a complete small library)
  • 1024 tB = 1 bp (one petabyte, equivalent to the amount of data handled by Google  per hour in the world)
  • 1024 bp = 1 eB (one exabyte, equivalent to the weight of all Internet information by the end of the year 2001).

Bytes and their higher measurements are also often used to measure the storage capacity of digital memory devices , or data transfer rates through computer networks of various types.

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