Difference Between Analog and Digital Signals

Signals are a function that helps in transmitting the information. It is a sequence stating an encoded message in a communication channel. There are different types of signals based on different criteria, features, values, and so on. Analog and digital signals are two types of signals.

Analog vs Digital Signals

The main difference between Analog and Digital Signals is that the analog signals are continuous and help in representing physical measurements. Whereas the digital ones are discontinuously generated using digital modulation. There are other differences between them in reference to their waves, representation, memory, power, flexibility, and uses. 

Analog and Digital Signals

Analog signals are the type of signal which is represented in a continuous waveform. These values used for denoting the information are in a continuous range. These signals are furthermore classified into simple analog signals and composite analog signals. Their waveform changes over a period of time.

Digital signals are the type of signal which is represented in a discrete or discontinuous waveform. They help in carrying information in a similar way to analog signals. The information or data carried is in a binary form. The time required for sending one bit is described by a bit interval.

Comparison Table Between Analog and Digital Signals

Parameters of ComparisonAnalog SignalsDigital Signals
SignalIt is a signal that is continuous and helps in representing physical measurements.A discrete-time signal is generated using digital modulation.
WavesThese have been represented using the sine waves.These have been represented using the square waves.
RepresentationA continuous range of values is utilized for representing information.A discrete or discontinuous range of values is utilized for representing information.
ExamplesThe most common examples include i.human voice, ii. analog electronic devices.Most common examples include: i.computers, ii. CD/DVD, iii.digital electronicdevices.
MemorySound waves are recorded in the form of wave signals.Sound waves are recorded in the form of binary bits.
PowerThe power drawn by analog instruments is immense.The power drawn by digital instruments is negligible.
FlexibilityAnalog hardware does not display flexibility.Digital hardware showcases flexibility during implementation.

What are Analog Signals?

Analog signal refers to the type of signal which is represented in a continuous waveform. This means that the values used for denoting the information are in a continuous range. The waveform, however, changes over a period of time. Here, Sine waves are used for representing the values. The signals are furthermore distinguished into- a. simple analog signals; b. composite analog signals.

The simple analog signals refer to the sine waves that do not allow further decomposition. Whereas the composite analog signals are the sine waves which allow further decomposition into numerous sine waves. The amplitudes, periods, or frequencies, along with phases, are utilized for describing the analog signals. The maximum height of a signal is being marked utilizing the Amplitude. The particular rate at which a signal changes is marked using the Frequency. And the position of the wave with respect to time zero is marked using the Phase.

The power drawn by analog instruments is immense, and the hardware is not flexible. The analog signal is susceptible to noises. Therefore they are likely to face disturbance and distortion, which reduces the accuracy. An analog signal’s range value is not specified. The processing of analog signal processing can be executed with lower bandwidth consumption and also in real-time.

What are Digital Signals?

Digital signal refers to the type of signal which is represented in a discrete waveform. These signals also help in carrying information in a similar way to analog signals. However, here the values used for denoting the information are in a discontinuous value range. Therefore, it is a discrete and discontinuous time signal. Here, the information or data carried is in a binary form. Which means the information is represented in the form of small bits.

It is possible to decompose the digital signal further into simpler sine waves. These waves are called harmonics. Every simpler sine wave or harmonic comes with a different amplitude (height), frequency (rate), and phase (position). Bit rates and Bit intervals are used for describing the digital signals. 

The time required for sending one bit is described by a bit interval. And the bit interval frequencies are described by the bit rates. Noise does not have much effect on digital signals. Therefore, they hardly face any kind of distortion. Digital signals are easier for transmission. Also, they have more reliability when compared with analog signals. Digital signals only have a finite range of values. The digital signal consists of 0s and 1s.

Main Differences Between Analog and Digital Signals

  1. A signal that is continuous and helps in representing physical measurements is an Analog Signal. A discrete-time signal that is generated using digital modulation is a Digital Signal.
  2. Analog Signals have been represented using the sine waves. Digital Signals have been represented using the square waves.
  3. In the case of Analog Signals, a continuous range of values is utilized for representing information. In the case of Digital Signals, a discrete or discontinuous range of values is utilized for representing information.
  4. Most common examples of Analog Signals include i. human voice, ii. analog electronic devices. Most common examples of Digital Signals include i. computers, ii. CD/DVD, iii. digital electronic devices.
  5. In the case of Analog Signals, sound waves are recorded in the form of wave signals. In the case of Digital Signals, sound waves are recorded in the form of binary bits.
  6. The power drawn by analog instruments is huge. The power drawn by digital instruments is negligible.
  7. Analog hardware does not display flexibility. Digital hardware showcases flexibility during implementation.

Conclusion

Analog signals are continuous and digital ones are discontinuous. Sine waves help in representing Analog Signals, and square waves help in representing Digital Signals. In the case of Analog Signals, a continuous range of values is utilized for representing information. In the case of Digital Signals, a discrete or discontinuous range of values is utilized for representing information.

Sound waves are recorded in the form of wave signals in Analog signals. Whereas they are recorded in the form of binary bits in Digital signals. Power drawn by analog instruments is more in comparison. Nowadays, Digital signals are replacing analog signals. However, they are the best ones for audio transmission.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5624500/
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