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Difference Between Baud Rate and Bitrate

Baud Rate vs Bitrate

As you may have already guessed by both terms containing the word rate, these are used to measure speeds in connectivity. The baud rate is a measure of how many symbols are being transmitted each signal. A symbol is any waveform change or electrical pulse that is used to transmit data along the medium. On the other hand, the bitrate is a measure of the number of bits that are being transmitted.

Previously, baud and bitrates are used interchangeably because older modulation techniques only allowed one bit to be contained in each symbol. Now, each symbol can contain more than bits resulting in the bitrate being much higher than the baud rate. With these cases, it is no longer accurate to interchangeably use bitrate and baud rate as they are no longer equal. The gross bitrate is equal to the baud rate multiplied by number of bits contained in each symbol.

Since the baud rate does not discriminate whether the information it is transmitting is data or just signaling information used by the hardware to sync, determine the path, and many other things. The baud rate includes overhead. So if each symbol contains 4 bits, the net bitrate is slightly less than four times of the baud rate. The difference is usually very small and should not affect the data transmission too much.

When it comes to limitations, the maximum baud rate is limited by the amount of bandwidth that is allocated to it. This limitation is dictated by the electrical characteristics of the media being used. With bitrates, you are also limited to the maximum baud rate and passband bandwidth. But the number of bits in each symbol should also be considered as it can be used to increase the maximum bitrate without increasing the baud rate or the bandwidth that is being occupied.


1. The baud rate is a measure of the number of symbols being transmitted each second while the bitrate is a measure of the number of bits being transmitted each second

2. Each symbol that is being measured by the baud rate can contain one or more bits

3. The baud rate always includes the overhead in the measurement while the bitrate does not

4. The maximum baud rate is equal to the passband bandwidth while the bitrate can be much higher

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