# What are Analog and Digital Signals? Differences, Examples

Gestures, actions, sounds, and expressions tell us some information, and these are the ways of communicating with one another.

Similarly signal is a way of communicating by sending information from one system to another system. In other words, the signal is a function that represents information or data.

## What is a Signal?

Signal is an electromagnetic wave that carries information through a physical medium. Here the data is converted into an electromagnetic signal either analog or digital and sent from sender to receiver.

Voltage and current are a few time-varying quantities that are used to represent data, by varying these quantities with respect to time data can be transmitted. Similarly, signal is also represented as the function of the frequency domain rather than the time domain.

For communicating between two systems, a message signal is passed through an encoder and modulator to transmit through a medium while it is passed through a decoder and demodulator to receive the message signal at the other end.

Signals are divided into two categories based on their nature.

Signals which are

1. Signal that are Continuous as time-varying in nature are analog signals
2. Signals which are discrete are called digital signals.

## Analog Signals

Analog signal is a form of electrical energy (voltage, current, or electromagnetic power) for which there is a linear relationship between electrical quantity and the value that the signal represents.

The signal whose amplitude takes any value in a continuous range is called an analog signal.

Analog Signals are continuous in nature which vary with respect to time. They can be periodic or non-periodic.

Voltage, current, frequency, pressure, sound, light, and temperature are the physical variables that are measured with respect to their changes with respect to time to obtain information.

When the voltage versus time graph is plotted we see a curve with continuous values like sine waves.

These signals are more subjected to noise as they travel through the medium, these noises result in information loss in the signal.

Analog to digital converter converts analog signal to digital signal by a process called sampling and quantization. Sound waves are converted to a sequence of samples by the process of Sampling

## Examples of Analog Signals

Conventional (old) transmitters, transducers convey data in analog mode.

The signals include audio signals transmitted through wires, video signals broadcasted using older technology, radio signals, and analog watches.

## Digital Signals

The signal, whose amplitude takes only limited values is called a Digital signal.

Digital signals are discrete, they contain only distinct values.

Digital signals carry binary data i.e. 0 or 1 in the form of bits, it can only contain one value at a period of time. Digital signals are represented as square waves or clock signals.

The minimum value is 0 volts whereas the maximum value is 5 volts.

Digital signals are less subjected to noise compared to analog signals.

Transmission of digital data in the analog channel is done by a process called Modulation.

Amplitude modulation is a process in which digital data is converted to analog signals using a single frequency carrier signal. Similarly, FREQUENCY shift keying uses a constant amplitude carrier signal and two frequencies to differentiate between 1 and 0.

Nowadays usage of digital signals for transmitting information has increased rapidly in every field of usage as the applications and properties of digital signals are more productive compared to analog signals.

## Examples of Digital Signals

• Smart transmitters using various protocols transmit data through analog and digital signals.
• Digital watches.
• Digital video signals.
• CD’s.
• DVD’s.
• Computer.

## Difference between Analog and Digital Signals

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