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Baud rate

Baud rate definition

Baud rate, also known as symbol rate, measures the speed of data transmission in a communication system. It represents the largest number of times that the signal carrying the data can change state, or shift, per second. In simple terms, it's how many 'bits' of information can be sent each second. One baud (Bd) is equal to one symbol per second.

See also: data transmission, data transfer, committed information rate

Why baud rate is important

Baud rate is key for assessing the speed and efficiency of data transmission. A higher baud rate shows that more information can be sent in a given amount of time. That means better download and upload speeds, quicker loading times, and smoother streaming, among other benefits.

However, using a baud rate that's too high for a given system or transmission medium can lead to errors and unreliable communication. That's because the system may struggle to correctly interpret the rapidly changing signals. As such, choosing an appropriate baud rate is an important part of designing many digital communication systems.

Uses of baud rate

  • Modems. For modems, which transmit data over phone lines or other mediums, the baud rate is an essential factor.
  • Serial communication. In devices that use serial communication, like some computer hardware, baud rate is often an important specification.
  • Telecommunications. The baud rate plays a significant role in various telecommunications systems, including wireless communication and fiber optics.
  • Computer networks. In computer networking, the baud rate can influence how fast and reliable the data transmission is.