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Difference Between Analog and Digital Signals

analog-digital-pdAnalog vs Digital Signals

There are two types of signals that carry information – analog and digital signals. The difference between analog and digital signals is that analog is a continuous electrical signal, whereas digital is a non-continuous electrical signal.

Analog Signals vary in time, and the variations follow that of the non-electric signal. When compared to analog signals, digital signals change in individual steps and consist of pulses or digits. Analog signals are a model of the real quantity and the voice intensification that causes electric current variations. Digital signals have discrete levels, and the specified value of the pulse remains constant until the change in the next digit. There are two amplitude levels, which are called nodes, that are based on 1 or 0, true or false, and high or low.

Digital signals, similar to Morse code, are sent to a computer which interprets these into words. A digital signal, a 0 or 1, is sent through the phone line. For example, when you type the letter A into your computer, it converts it into 01000001. This 01000001 goes to other computer, which interprets it as A. A series of eight 0’s and 1’s is called a byte, whereas each 0 or 1 is called a bit.

The difference between digital and analog signals can also be understood by observing various examples of different waves, and how they work. In the 1800’s, analog waveforms were used in conjunction with copper to relay or transmit conversations. Since they have the tendency to catch distorting electromagnetic waves, or noise which drops the quality of the signal, they soon became troublesome and difficult to maintain. Soon the change from analog to digital occurred, because digital signals were easier to transmit and were more reliable compared to analog signals.

A signal is the transmission of data that we constantly deal with during our daily routine life. From telephones to cellular devices, and music to computers, signals are very important. With the advent of modern technology, telephone and computers etc have became a necessity, and the cost of analog signal transmission has become not only expensive, but troublesome. Digital signals soon replaced analog because they are simply different and uniformed, and not severely altered by noise or distortion. Almost all electronic devices use digital signals, because they remain accurate in shape and amplitude. Digital signals provide better continuous delivery, and are preferred over analog signals.


1. Analog signals can be converted into digital signals by using a modem.

2. Digital signals use binary values to send and receive data between computers.

3. Digital signals are easier and more reliable to transmit with fewer errors.

4. Analog signal are replicas of sound waves that can be distorted with noise and drop the quality of transmission.

5. Digital data has a faster rate of transmission when compared to analog, and gives better productivity.

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  11. What is the role of analog and digital signals in VoIP?

    • The ATA allows you to connect a standard phone to your computer or your Internet connection for use with VoIP. The ATA is an analog-to-digital converter. It takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts it into digital data for transmission over the Internet.

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