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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Kilobits, Kilobytes, What The Hell?
I was just chatting with Matt, our Sports Editor, and he mentioned that he tested out his bandwith with the CNet Bandwidth meter and the meter and remarked that he was shocked that he apparently had a 2,454.06 kbps speed connection, when he thought he had only 300. I had to explain that 300 Kb = 2,400 kb, because the 300 is kilobytes and the 2,400 is kilobits, since a bit is 1/8th of a byte. I upgraded my connection for free (thanks Verizon!) to 1.5 mbps yesterday, but I know that is still a little under 200 Kbps. Don't most consumer have absolutely no idea about these distinctions? And why are ISPs using bits, a scale that has no useful meaning at all, instead of bytes, which are standard usable units? I felt like it was the biggest rip-off in the world years ago when I found out my 56k connection was barely good for 7 real k's.

I guess using bits made more sense to them. Byte is after all a computer science concept. From an electrical point of view it dosent make any sense for them. Its just on and offs that does. So i guess thats why they have this concept of kbits to represent the no of signals they have transmitted rather than KB. But I guess its time they switched... but that would be margeting fallacy, wouldn't it.

I believe the standard format networks and computer use is bits, as that's what they process in; bits of data(CPU's process data with 32 bit floating points).

Humans use Byte/KiloBytes/etc.

I read about this years ago, can't find any sources now but they're about.

Yep, that's it exactly. Look at your network cards, etc, 10/100 Mb, etc. It's just the standard when talking about network connections which is what youre cable modem / dsl modem is. They're basically just making a big network out of all of their users. I used to work as a install tech. when cable modems were first coming into an area, and during beta testing before they tightened down security, users could actually see shared folders on each others computers. Luckily the providers saw that as a huge risk and fixed it quickly.

So anyhow, not saying I don't agree that it would be nice if they started using KB instead of Kb, but until everyone decides it's time to change, it's actually better if no one changes (to prevent further confusion).
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