Byte orientation refers to forms of data processing in which digital data are processed bytewise. For example, communication is called byte oriented or character oriented when the transmitted information is grouped into bytes.
The latter term is deprecated, since the notion of character has changed. An ASCII character fits to one byte (octet) in terms of the amount of information. With the internationalization of computer software, wide characters became necessary, to handle texts in different languages. In particular, Unicode characters can be 8, 16, or 32 bits long, i.e., 1, 2, or 4 bytes.
Byte oriented transmission makes use of byte-oriented protocols, that may involve transmission of additional bits as terminators, means of error recovery, etc.
Alternative approaches are bit oriented and word oriented.