Compression means reduction in the number of bits needed to represent data. Compressing data can save the storage capacity, speed up the file transfer, and decrease cost for storage hardware and network bandwidth. Compression takes place by a program that uses a formula or algorithm to determine how to shrink the size of the data.
File compression is a process of wrapping up a file or files to use less disk space. Compression works by minimizing redundancy in a file’s code. Compression software allows you to take many files and compress them into one file, which is smaller than the combined size of the original files.
Advantages of file compression:
- Storage Space – It is the space that is provided by the computer hard drive (or the storage space that comes for a price). Compressing data files allows you to store more files in the storage space that is available. Lossless compression, which is used in zip file technology, will reduce a file to 50 percent of its original file size. However, you will not see a difference in the file size if your zip files are already in a compressed format, such as MP3 audio files or PDF files.
- Bandwidth and Transfer Speed – Bandwidth is the speed at which the network transfers data and is measured in Mbps (megabits per second). Network bandwidth is used whenever you download a file, such as an MP3 audio file from a server on the Internet. A compressed file contains fewer bits of data than uncompressed files, and, as a consequence, uses less bandwidth when you download them. This means that the transfer speed, that is, the time it takes for your file to download, is fast. For Example, if you are downloading a file that is 10Mb (megabits) in size, and with a bandwidth of 1Mbps, it will take 10 seconds to download the file. It will only take 5 seconds to download the file if the file is compressed to 5Mb.
- Cost – The costs of storing your data are minimized by compressing your files for storage, because you can store more files in your available storage space when they are compressed. You must buy a second 250MB drive if you have 500MB of uncompressed data and a 250MB hard drive on which to store it. You need not buy an extra hard drive if you compress the data files to 50 percent of the uncompressed file size. By saving the storage space you can maintain the costs of Internet connection. Many contracts with Internet Service Providers (ISP) include charges for the amount of data that you download from the internet. Download compressed files, and you are downloading much less data than you would be if you were downloading uncompressed files. Your Internet download charges will be less as a consequence