Baud is (pronounced bawd) is a measure of data communication speed in the form of the number of level transitions (e.g., changes in voltage levels) in the transmission media per second.
In the case of modems, the baud rate coincides with the number of bits per second only for lower speeds. For higher speeds, however, because it is possible to encode more than a single bit in each level transition, the number of bits per second can be several times the baud rate.
The baud was proposed as an improved measure of telegraph speeds at the November 1926 conference of the CCITT (Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique). One baud was equal to one pulse per second, as against the then standard practice of measuring speed in terms of the number of words per minute. The word was derived from the name of Jean Maurice Emile Baudot, a French engineer who invented the Baudot telegraph code.
Although bits per second has become the main measure of data speeds, the word baud has taken on new life in the form of the company name Blackbaud, which is the leading provider of software and related services exclusively for non-profit organizations.
Created November 8, 2005.