Glossary

Kbps

« Back to Glossary Index

Kbps kilobits per secondKbps is the abbreviation of the term kilobits per second and is used for measuring data transfer speed or network transmission speed. A kilobit is 1,000 bits. Kbps is written with the lowercase letter “b” to prevent confusing it with its closely related term called byte in its uppercase “B”. A byte is eight bits. The term bit rate is also used to refer to transfer speeds measured in bits per second (may be bits, Kilobits, Megabits, or Gigabits).

Dial-up Internet connections using modems are typical examples of transfer speeds measured in kilobits per second. For example, in the late 1990s, the most popular dial-up modems were 56Kbps, which were blazing fast compared to older 28.8Kbps and 14.4Kbps modems.

Today most internet connections are measured in megabits per second (Mbps) about an order of magnitude better than the kilobit/sec speeds in the late 1990s. In limited areas, Gigabit Internet is available with transfer speeds over one Gbps. These are not uncommon in business or government organisations, but not widely available for consumers.

Kbps is also often used to describe the quality of a video or an audio file. Music files will often state they are 192K, 128K, or 96K (or other values). The higher the number the better an audio file will sound. The variation is a result of compression used to make the files smaller and easier to send over the Internet. A minimum of 160 Kbps is recommended for CD quality sound in an mp3 format, although finding mp3 music files compressed to 320 is quite common.

Synonyms:
kilobit/sec,Kilobits per Second
« Back to Glossary Index
nsr

Sign Up For Free Account