What is a Byte?

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What Does Byte Mean

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

A byte needs 8 bits to represent a letter in binary code.

What is a byte?

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



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

However, the phonetic similarity of byte to 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").

Regarding the amount of information that a byte represents, consider that it takes approximately 8 bits to represent a letter in the binary code of most commercial computer systems today, that is, one byte is equal to one letter. Therefore, a whole paragraph can exceed 100 B, and a very short text will reach the next higher unit, the kilobyte (1024 B = 1 kB).

From then on, a whole scale for measuring the quantity of digital information begins, as follows (in accordance with the ISO / IEC 80000-13 standard):

  • 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 pB (one petabyte, equivalent to the amount of data handled by Google per hour in the world)
  • 1024 bp = 1 eB (an exabyte, equivalent to the weight of all the information on the Internet by the end of 2001).

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

See also: Database

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