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Orders of magnitude (bit rate)

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Orders of magnitude (bit rate)

An order of magnitude is generally a factor of ten. A quantity growing by four orders of magnitude implies it has grown by a factor of 10000 or 104. However, because computers are binary, orders of magnitude are sometimes given as powers of two.

This article presents a list of multiples, sorted by orders of magnitude, for bit rates measured in bits per second. Since some bit rates may measured in other quantities of data or time (like MB/s), information to assist with converting to and from these formats is provided. This article assumes the following:


  • 1 kB (kilobyte) = 1000 bytes = 8000 bits
  • 1 KiB (kibibyte) = 210 bytes = 1024 bytes = 8192 bits
  • 1 kb (kilobit) = 125 bytes = 1000 bits
  • 1 Kib (kibibit) = 210 bits = 1024 bits = 128 bytes
Factor (bit/s) SI prefix Value Field Item
10−2 5.0×10−2 bit/s Text data Project ELF bit rate for transmitting 3-letter codes to US nuclear submarines [1][2]
100 bit/s
101 5.0×101 bit/s Positioning system Bit rate for transmissions from GPS satellites [3]
5.6×101 bit/s Text data Bit rate for a skilled operator in Morse code [4]
103 kbit/s 4×103 bit/s Audio data Minimum achieved for encoding recognizable speech (using special-purpose speech codecs)
8×103 bit/s Audio data Low bit rate telephone quality
104 3.2×104 bit/s Audio data MW quality and ADPCM voice in telephony, doubling the capacity of a 30 chan link to 60 ch.
5.6×104 bit/s Networking 56kbit modem – 56 kbit/s – 56,000 bit/s
6.4×104 bit/s Networking 64 kbit/s in an ISDN B channel or best quality, uncompressed telephone line.
105 1.28×105 bit/s Audio data 128 kbit/s MP3 – 128,000 bit/s
1.92×105 bit/s Audio data Nearly CD quality for a file compressed in the MP3 format
106 Mbit/s 1.4112×106 bit/s Audio data CD audio (uncompressed, 16 bit samples × 44.1 kHz × 2 channels)
1.536×106 bit/s Networking 24 channels of telephone in the US, or a good VTC T1.
2×106 bit/s Video data 30 channels of telephone audio or a Video Tele-Conference at VHS quality
8×106 bit/s Video data DVD quality
107 1×107 bit/s Networking 107 bit/s is the speed of classic Ethernet: 10BASE2, 10BASE5, 10BASE-T
1×107 bit/s Biology Research suggests that the human retina transmits data to the brain at the rate of ca. 107 bit/sec[5]
2.7×107 bit/s Video data HDTV quality
108 4.8×108 bit/s Computer data interfaces USB 2.0 High-Speed (interface signalling rate)
7.86×108 bit/s Computer data interfaces FireWire IEEE 1394b-2002 S800
9.5×108 bit/s Computer storage Harddrive read, Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103Uj [6]
109 Gbit/s 1×109 bit/s Networking Gigabit Ethernet
1.067×109 bit/s Computer data interfaces Parallel ATA UDMA 6; conventional PCI 32 bit 33 MHz – 133 MB/s
1.244×109 bit/s Networking OC-24, a 1.244 Gbit/s SONET data channel
1.5×109 bit/s Computer data interfaces SATA 1.5Gbit/s – First generation (interface signaling rate)
3×109 bit/s Computer data interfaces SATA 3Gbit/s – Second generation (interface signaling rate)
5×109 bit/s Computer data interfaces USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (interface signaling rate)
6×109 bit/s Computer data interfaces SATA 6Gbit/s – Third generation (interface signaling rate)
8.533×109 bit/s Computer data interfaces PCI-X 64 bit 133 MHz – 1,067 MB/s
9.953×109 bit/s Networking OC-192, a 9.953 Gbit/s SONET data channel
1010 1.0×1010 bit/s Computer data interfaces Thunderbolt
1.0×1010 bit/s Networking 10 Gigabit Ethernet
1.0×1010 bit/s Computer data interfaces USB 3.1 SuperSpeed 10 Gbit/s (interface signaling rate)
3.9813×1010 bit/s Networking OC-768, a 39.813 Gbit/s SONET data channel, the fastest in current use
4.0×1010 bit/s Networking 40 Gigabit Ethernet
8×1010 bit/s Computer data interfaces PCI Express x16 v2.0 (interface signaling rate)
9.6×1010 bit/s Computer data interfaces InfiniBand 12X QDR
1011 1.0×1011 bit/s Networking 100 Gigabit Ethernet
1.28×1011 bit/s Computer data interfaces PCI Express x16 v3.0 (interface signaling rate)
1012 Tbit/s 1.28×1012 bit/s Networking SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine communications cable – 1.28 terabits per second [7]
3.84×1012 bit/s Networking I-ME-WE submarine communications cable – design capacity of 3.84 terabits per second [8]
1014 2.45×1014 bit/s Networking Projected average global internet traffic in 2015 according to Cisco's 2011 VNI IP traffic forecast [9][10]
1015 Pbit/s 1.050×1015 bit/s Networking Data rate over a 14 transmission core optical fiber developed by NEC and Corning researchers.[11]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Source specifies a transmission rate of 3 characters in 5 minutes. An uppercase character can be represented with 5 bits.
  3. ^
  4. ^ WPM, or Words Per Minute, is the number of times the word "PARIS" is transferred per minute. Strictly speaking the code is quinary, accounting inter-element, inter-letter, and inter-word gaps, yielding 50 binary elements (bits) per one word. Therefore 40 wpm is 2000 bits/min or 55.6 bit/s. Counting characters, including inter-word gaps, gives six characters per word or 240 characters per minute, and finally four characters per second.
  5. ^ Penn researchers calculate how much the eye tells the brain, 26 July 2006
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Calculated based on Cisco's figure of 966 exabytes per year, using the astronomical definition of a Julian year (365.25 days per year, 86,400 seconds per day).
  11. ^
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