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Q&A

Distinguish like I'm 9 years old — Bit rate vs. Data rate?

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How do **Data rate **and Total bitrate differ? I am untutored in computer science — please explain like I am 9 years old. See below pls.

David Vanderschel PhD in Mathematics & Physics from Rice University (1970) alleges "Not much" difference. MBaz's answer is too abstruse for me.

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Grammar nitpick (1 comment)

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Very briefly, bit rate is the rate at which individual bits are sent. Data rate is the rate at which data is effectively transferred.

Not all bits carry data. Some are used for various out of band signalling purposes, like synchronizing both ends, delimiting bytes, indicating that there is currently no data, etc. In general, these kind of bits are called protocol overhead.

See also Bit-rate vs Baud-rate. In that question, baud rate is what you are referring to as bit rate here, and bit rate is what you are calling data rate.

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