Analogue and Digital Signals

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Analogue signals

  • Amplitude or frequency very continuously
  • They can take any value in a particular range
  • Example analogue devices include speedometers and thermometers
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Digital signals

  • Can only take two values
  • Made up of pulses
  • The pulses will be decoded by a digital receiver to get a copy of the original signal
  • Example digital devices include On/Off switches and the displays on digital clocks or meters
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  • Both digital and analogue signals weaken as they travel
  • They have to therefore be amplified along their route
  • The signals pick up interference or noise from electrical disturbances or other signals
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Quality of digital signals

  • Noise is less of a problem with these signals
  • A 'noisy' digital signal will be easier to clean up as it can only be one of two values
  • During amplification, the noise doesn't get amplified with the signal
  • They are much higher quality because the info. received is the same as the original


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Quality of analogue signals

  • A noisy analogue signal can make it difficult to know what the original signal would have looked like
  • The noise gets amplified as the signal does
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Other benefits of digial signals

  • Easy to process using computers as they are digital devices too
  • You are able to transmit several signals at once using just one cable or EM waves, meaning more info can be sent in a given time than analogue signals
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