Named after a French engineer, the term baud was historically associated with the speed measurement of telegraphic transmissions. Today, the terms baud and bps, or bits per second, are associated with computer modems. However, baud is not always synonymous with bps. Only when referring to low speed modems is the term baud interchangeable with bps. Baud is a term referring to a number of changes in electrical signals that signify bits of information. One baud is one change of an electrical signal per second. Baud was used to describe how older modems transferred information, since modems used to represent data by issuing single sounds for each bit of information. On a slow speed modem, the number of baud indicates how many bits of information travel over per second. For example, a modem of 400 Baud would translate into 400 bits being transmitted per second. Consequently, in the case of lower speed modems, baud does equal bps, as the bits per second transmission is only one bit per signal change. There are higher speed modems that can transmit more than one bit per signal. Therefore, a 5,000 baud modem could permit 10,000 bits to be transmitted each second. Since more sophisticated technology has replaced older, slower modems transmitting data through baud, bps is a more commonly used term in reference to modems.
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