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baud
Last modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 

Pronounced bawd, the number of signaling elements that occur each second. The term is named after J.M.E. Baudot, the inventor of the Baudot telegraph code.

At slow speeds, only one bit of information (signaling element) is encoded in each electrical change. The baud, therefore, indicates the number of bits per second that are transmitted. For example, 300 baud means that 300 bits are transmitted each second (abbreviated 300 bps ). Assuming asynchronous communication, which requires 10 bits per character, this translates to 30 characters per second (cps). For slow rates (below 1,200 baud), you can divide the baud by 10 to see how many characters per second are sent.

At higher speeds, it is possible to encode more than one bit in each electrical change. 4,800 baud may allow 9,600 bits to be sent each second. At high data transfer speeds, therefore, data transmission rates are usually expressed in bits per second (bps) rather than baud. For example, a 9,600 bps modem may operate at only 2,400 baud.

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