# If a bit is either a 1 or a 0, and a kilobit is 1000 1’s and 0’s. Is there such a thing as a millibit? And if not, is kilo, mega, giga etc. correct prefixes?

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If a bit is either a 1 or a 0, and a kilobit is 1000 1’s and 0’s. Is there such a thing as a millibit? And if not, is kilo, mega, giga etc. correct prefixes?

In: Technology

A kilobit is actually 1024 bits. Everything is done in powers of 2.

But a bit is the smallest unit of binary data, you can not split a bit, but you can try to make it smaller to fit a smaller space.

Of course, normally we count in bytes (8 bits of data), and those are bunched into 1024 bytes for a kilobyte, 1024 kb for a megabyte, 1024 mb for a gigabyte, etc

We use the metric decimal notation of kilo-, mega-, etc, because it is easier to remember, and the values are similar to the 1000 times jump of the decimal system.

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No, there is no such thing as a millibit. You might find the width of one bit on a hard drive, and divide it up, but that is not a standard or even typically useful treatment compared to the indivisible unit of information.

That is, I could define *some continuous unit* that happened to overlap at every whole number with some kind of bit, but there isn’t much reason to, and the computer itself can’t be made to care.

Kilo, mega, giga are correct prefixes, though there is sometimes controversy over whether they should be multiples of 1000, as every other kilounit, or of 1024. This sometimes causes hard drive purchasers to feel shortchanged. An unambiguous alternate prefix has been suggested: kibi, mibi, gibibits, all multiples of 1024.

OK, so as an IT professional who does a bit of everything: Millibit would, theoretically, be 1/1000 of a bit, but bits cannot be split into smaller parts of bits from a practical sense (you could theoretically do math that made them do that, but it wouldn’t make any sense practically; like if you were averaging a number of bits in a number of files and you had a remainder, you’d end up with fractional numbers, but in reality those bits would be whole, and in one file or another).

In most computing application, you count sets of 8 bits, or bytes, as others have said, and in *those* contexts, when you’re talking about kilobytes, you are *most likely* (not always) talking about 1024 bytes. In specific networking applications, however, speeds are measured in [metric prefix]bits per second, in which case a kilobit is 1000 bits, a megabit is 1 million bits, gigabit is a billion bits, etc.

Think of a bit as a coin that’s either on heads or tails. It makes sense to have two coins, which can each be on either heads or tails, but what does it mean to have half a coin? If you cut the coin in half, it’s still either on heads or tails. It still can represent a bit. Fractional values simply don’t mean anything when talking about digital information.