Code rate

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In telecommunication and information theory, the code rate (or information rate[1]) of a forward error correction code is the proportion of the data-stream that is useful (non-redundant). That is, if the code rate is k/n, for every k bits of useful information, the coder generates a total of n bits of data, of which n-k are redundant.

If R is the gross bitrate or data signalling rate (inclusive of redundant error coding), the net bitrate (the useful bit rate exclusive of error-correction codes) is ≤ R•k/n.

For example: The code rate of a convolutional code will typically be 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, etc., corresponding to one redundant bit inserted after every single, second, third, etc., bit. The code rate of the octet oriented Reed Solomon block code denoted RS(204,188) is 188/204, meaning that 204 - 188 = 16 redundant octets (or bytes) are added to each block of 188 octets of useful information.

A few error correction codes do not have a fixed code rate—rateless erasure codes.

Note that bit/s is a more widespread unit of measurement for the information rate, implying that it is synonymous with net bit rate or useful bit rate exclusive of error-correction codes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Huffman, W. Cary, and Pless, Vera, Fundamentals of Error-Correcting Codes, Cambridge, 2003.