[mrtg] Re: Maxbytes for 1 meg serial?

IT Andrew Bold it.andrew.bold at oldham.gov.uk
Fri Dec 10 11:33:17 MET 1999

Hmmm...  This old chestnut :)

Traditionally in computing, kilo has -always- been 1024.  In the more recent past
and as a result of the rise of the PC, this has been mutated by marketing types
into being the metric kilo of 1000.  The same is true of mega-, giga-, and tera-.

Why?  Well, which would you rather buy, a 2.146Gb - no - 2.2Gb, cos we're
marketing it - hard disk, or a 2Gb hard disk?  They both have the same number of
bytes, but the first one looks like it has 10% more Gb...

This becomes an even bigger marketing tool when you're talking about comms.
10Megabit sounds better than 1.2Megabyte, because the numbers are bigger.
Managers like that ;^)

Because of this, and the confusion it causes ("Am I talking comms mega, binary
mega, or manufacturer mega?")  the IEEE (I think) has proposed a new standard.  If
I recall correctly, it's proposed that binary kilo, mega, etc will be referred to
using the "micro" (?) symbol - the "u" with a long tail, while the "traditional"
versions will revert back to their metric meanings.

I think that this means we'd end up with uKb, uMb, etc.

So, to sum up, I can see what you're saying about it being strange to use "kilo"
for 1024, but that's if you're thinking in the real world.  When you get down to
the binary world of bits and bytes we all know and love, I'd say it's more
traditional to use 1024.  Hopefully the IEEE will release it's "standard" soon,
and we'll all be able to talk the same language :)  Then again, seeing as how
we'll be buying kit using specs that have been massaged by marketing people, maybe
not :(

Thank God for MRTG!  At least we can see what throughput we're -really- getting :)

Andrew Bold                   | mailto:it.andrew.bold at oldham.gov.uk
Support Systems Administrator | Telephone: 0161 911 3990
IT Corporate Services         | Fax:       0161 911 3998

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