What’s The Difference Between Baud Rate And Bitrate?

Baud Rate
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When talking about video and audio conversion, we have oftentimes stumbled across the mention of bitrate. It plays a big role in the quality of audio or video files and the compression of both respectively.

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However, when you try to read up on different rates, you may have also stumbled upon a similar term: baud rate.


In order for you not to confuse these two, lets have a look at the differences between baud rate and bitrate.


The Difference Between Baud Rate And Bitrate

Formerly, both terms had actually been used interchangeably. At that time, data transmitted was measured both in symbols and bits where one symbol could only contain one bit. Nowadays, however, there has to be a distinction made between the two since symbols can contain more than one bit.

In short, using the terms from above, bitrate and baud rate can be differentiated as such:

  • Bitrate: measures number of transmitted bits
  • Baud rate: measures number of transmitted symbols


Hence, while bitrate and baud rate could be used interchangeably in the past due to their same size, they can differ in size by now. The bitrate, depending on the number of bits contained in a symbol, can thus be higher than the baud rate.


Another factor that differentiates those two is the limitations. Both are limited by the bandwidth available for the transmission. This maximal bandwidth depends on the media being used. However, since the bitrate can surpass the baud rate, it can still be higher than the maximal baud rate for the available bandwidth. The bit rate can thus be increased without having to increase either baud rate or bandwidth.



Function Unit Size
Bitrate measures number of bits transmitted per second bit(s) can be higher than baud rate and bandwidth
Baud rate measures the number of symbols transmitted per second symbol(s) containing one or more bits is limited by bandwidth