What Does Kilobit Mean?

A kilobit (Kb or kbit) is a data measurement unit for digital information or computer storage. One kilobit equals one thousand (103 or 1,000) bits.


A kilobit is used to measure data rates in digital communication circuits (for example, 56 kilobits per second (kbps) in the public switched telephone network (PSTN) circuit or 512 kbps in a broadband Internet connection) and between devices, such as universal serial bus ports, FireWire or modems.

Techopedia Explains Kilobit

A bit, which is characterized as a binary variable of 0 or 1, is a small electrical switch in random access memory (RAM) or read-only memory (ROM). A value of 0 indicates an off electrical switch, and a value of 1 indicates an on electrical switch. The bit value of 0 or 1 is held in a high- or low-voltage charge within a capacitor or transistor memory cell.

The bit is the most basic unit of data in computing. A group of eight bits is known as a byte. A byte can hold 256 values, ranging from 0 to 255. Generally, a byte is the number of bits used to encode a single text character.

The bits of a byte are numbered 0 to 7. In addition, bits are frequently written from highest to lowest bit, but this is not always the case.

Communication speed is normally measured in thousands of bytes per second. The lower-case b stands for bit, and the capitalized B stands for byte. For example, one kilobit (Kb) is 1000 bits and one kilobyte (KB) is 1000 bytes.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.