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When you consider the Basic Size, lets say 120 mm, and if tolerance is only allowed for upper range i.e 120+ mm,(or only bottom range, i.e. 120-......mm) then that becomes Unilateral. When both sides are considered, 120+.....mm and 120-.....mm, that's the Bilateral tolerance.

For Bilateral, example is 120mm(+72,-126 where tolerances are in microns)

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In Unilateral Tolerance, the limit vary above or below the Basic Size of object.  Whereas,

In Bilateral Tolerance, the limit vary above and below the Basic size of object.

In Industries, Unilateral tolerance is widely used as it is easier to calculate only in one direction.

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in unilateral tolerance,the dimension of the part is allowed to vary on one side only. it may be either upper or lower of  basic line. but in bilateral tolerance,dimension is allowed to vary in both side.the dimension variance in both side may or may  not be same.

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