### UNDERSTANDING BITS AND BYTES

The behavior of a computer is based on some specific commands or instructions in other to process data efficiently. In our today’s, environment, computers are one of the most enthusiastic devices that enables communication, provide education and shares information in this part of our world and hence these devices are now-a-days an integral part of our lives.

As part of our day-to-day activities computers are a result of gradual, continuous and intensive development in technology.

To better comprehend the working of computers, you need to understand the basic concepts of computing. Basic computing includes units of measuring information which comes in handy with bits and bytes.

**BITS AND BYTES**

The process of storing and sharing data and information by a computer is specifically measured in units such as bits and bytes.

In computer networking, the term bits and bytes refers to the standard units of digital data transmitted over network connections.

**BITS**

A bit is the smallest unit of information that a computer processes. The term** ‘bit’** is a short acronym for **“binary digit”.** It is a single binary bit which means that the digit can have either of two values and the two values are 0 and 1.

On the other hand, bits are used to encode a single unit of digital information. Computers operate on this base 2 number system. Zero(**0**) represent off state and one(**1**) represent on state and the computer can communicate only through these two states. When electricity flows into a transistors of a computer, in order to turn it on it represents the value 1 and when the computer turns off a transistor it can represents 0.

**BYTES**

A byte is another unit of information; it represents a large number of data. A byte is a collection of eight (8) bits, it therefore represents values ranging from **0 to 255**. Thus, bytes would have not existed without bits. A byte can also be referred to as an octet.

According to Wikipedia, the term byte was coined by Werner Buchholz in July 1956, during the early design phase for the** IBM** stretch computer. The eight bits can be in any order like – it may be **00000000** or** 11111111** or **01110110** or any other possible ordering of 0 and 1. These bytes are used to represent letters of the alphabet and other characters. This assignment is a part of the standard for converting text to binary know as** ASCII** (or ASCII code). It means that every letter that is read on the computer screen is made of one byte, or eight bits.

**KILOBYTES AND MEGABYTES**

Kilobyte is the unit for even larger volumes of data. In most cases, documents that you create are typically a few or more kilobytes. A kilobyte equals 1024 bytes or 8,192 bits.

On other hand, document larger than 1024 kilobytes are said to be a few megabytes in size. A megabyte comprises 1024 kilobytes. Until about a decade ago, computer hard drives provided storage for megabytes of data. Within the last decade, when data explosion took place, the size of hard drives increased from megabytes to gigabytes.

The **“mega”** prefix in megabit(**MB**) and megabyte(**MB**) are often the preferred way to express data transfer rates because its dealing mostly with bits and bits in the thousands. For example, your home network might be able to download data at 1 million bytes every second, which is more appropriately written as 8 megabits per second, or even **8/mb/s.**

Some measurements yield bits to massive values like 1,073,741,824, which is how many bits are in a single gigabyte (which is 1,024 megabytes). What’s more to this is that **terabytes**, **petabytes**, and **exabytes** are even larger than megabytes.

**GIGABYTES**

In recent times, personal computers and handheld devices provides gigabyte of storage. A gigabyte contains 1024 megabytes. For example, most computer ranges from 250 gigabytes to 500 gigabytes.

Moreover, computer hard drives are further increasing in size – moving from gigabytes to terabytes. A terabyte is equal to 1,024 gigabytes when purchasing a computer, you can opt for a hard drive that is several terabytes in size.

**How to convert bits and bytes?**

It’s really easy to manually convert bit and byte values when you know the following:

**Total Units ** ** Output Units**

8 bits 1 byte

1024 bytes 1 kilobyte

1024 kilobytes 1 megabyte

1024 megabytes 1 gigabyte

1024 gigabytes 1 terabyte

As an example, to convert 5 kilobytes into bits, you’d use the second conversion to get 5,120 bytes** (1,024 × 5)** and then the first to get 40,960 bits **(5,120 × 8).**

A simple way to get through these conversions easily, is to use a calculator like a **Bit Calculator**. On the other hand, you can also estimate the values by google searching the questions.

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