Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between DLL and PLL


Electronics and circuits, these two are quite amazing but can really be vague and confusing at times.  Thus, if you are starting to read this article or have reached this write-up, then you must be looking for answers between the types of output signal loops, the DLL and the PLL.  If you are, then you have hit the right button clicking this article.

First and foremost, in order for us to differentiate, let us define what “DLL” and “PLL” are first.  The two can be very confusing, and if you are just starting out with electronics or circuits, then you are up for a dizzying ride. But if you are really interested in understanding it all, you will get the hang of it. “DLL” means “Delay-Locked Loop” circuit and “PLL” is “Phase-Locked Loop” circuit.

Broadly and practically speaking, a DLL and a PLL are used in integrated circuits of any technological gadgets that use chips to make them run, like computers, or anything that uses a timed loop of circuitry to make it function efficiently and is automated.  These are very important for the regulation of voltage coming in and out of the system.

Before we dig deeper into DLL and PLL, let us take a look at some terms that are very important to identify and familiarize ourselves with them to understand better what DLL and PLL are. Let us take a look at jitter.  Jitter is a pulse or periodic signal in electronics that is not desirable.  It comes from a clock source that feeds a signal that gives a frequency of pulses.  In input/output, I/O signals, jitters, clock delays, and loops are some of the very important factors to learn and consider as they feed the constancy and flow of the impulse.  “Oscillator” is one term we also need to know.  An oscillator is just a circuit that provides repeating circuits or impulses.

Now, let us define “PLL.”  PLL, as discussed, stands for Phase-Locked Loop.  It is a system or control mechanic that gives an output signal in relation to the phase of the input signal.  The input signal is the reference signal wherein the phase of the loop is based.  The PLL is a negative feedback action that gives a frequency and contains delay elements based on a slow clock buffer.  The advantage of it is if the clock buffer is evenly matched in phase or frequency, then it is insured that the reference clock and the negative feedback action are well matched.

The next loop to discuss is DLL.  In many instances, we encounter DLL in telecommunication devices.  What exactly is DLL?  “DLL” stands for Delay-Locked Loop.  Nearly similar to the PLL, the biggest and most notable difference is that the voltage-controlled oscillator is not present, rather a delay line exists.  DLL’s advantage is that it can enhance the output timing of ICs or integrated circuits because it is self-regulating with its delay line.  It gives periodic waveform consistently, and can be programmed or designed to become fully digital because it has the capacity to give constant delays or loops every time.

DLL and PLL can be used alternatively, but the PLLs are prone to frequency errors which gives an edge to the DLL system or circuit loop to rise above and be used by engineers more often.  The factor involving no oscillator, as discussed earlier, makes DLL a favorite.  Nonetheless, DLLs and PLLs functions for clock delays still do not change, and it’s important to consider which one would work better for a circuitry project.

What’s really important is whether it is properly designed to work at its optimum for the whole system to work with a perfect or error-free loop feeding the frequency much more consistently.


  1. DLL and PLL are both utilized in integrated circuits.
  2. PLL provides an output signal related to the input signal’s phase.
  3. DLL stands out because of its capacity to self-regulate its delay line as compared to PLL.
  4. DLL is used more frequently by engineers since it is less prone to frequency errors than the PLL.


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