• Poornima Mani

Analog vs Digital

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

What is the difference between Analog and Digital? But before that, isn't it necessary to know what a SIGNAL is in the first place?


In simple words, a signal is an electrical or electromagnetic current that is used to carry a piece of information from one system to another. Simple right?


But what is the deal with analog and digital signals? While an analog signal represents a continuous signal where a time-varying quantity represents another time-based variable, digital signals show actual numbers in a range of values.



Major characteristics of Analog Signals


  1. They are time-varying and can hold any integer value, i.e. positive, negative, or zero.

  2. Analog signals can either be periodic or aperiodic as they work on continuous data.

  3. These signals are mainly used to measure natural or physical values and have lesser accuracy.

  4. Compared to other technologies that have come up in recent times, the output of Analog signals might be difficult to decode for all.


Major characteristics of Digital Signals

  1. These are continuous signals that can be processed and transmitted in a much easier way than Analog signals.

  2. Unlike analog signals, digital waves only hold positive values and are encrypted thereby provided much more safety.

  3. The data storage in digital signals is in the binary form, i.e. as ones and zeros.


Comparison


Given below are the key differences between analog and digital signals.


Advantages


Analog:

  1. The processing is not a complex process and is best suited in audio and video transmission.

  2. There is no need for buying a new graphics board and can work in a smaller bandwidth compared to digital waves.

  3. It is a natural form of sound and can thus be represented more accurately.



Digital:


1. This type of signal can be easily compressed and is encrypted.

2. Due to the widespread use of digital equipment these days, they have become less expensive and removes possible errors such as parallax and approximation errors.

3. Using digital signals, it is easy to transmit data and more viable as there are a lot of editing tools available.


Disadvantages


Analog:

  1. The quality of the signal is lower compared to the digital signals and the transmission cables could easily tamper.

  2. The cost of the analog cables are comparatively higher and pose difficulty in editing.

  3. They don't provide the best digital interfaces and the data could be easily corrupted which is not preferred in any aspect.


Digital:

  1. The speed of the processor is limited and sampling in digital waves could lead to potential loss of information.

  2. There is a requirement of bigger bandwidth.

  3. Chances of quantization and round-off errors are much higher.


Application


We live in a world where survival without both either analog or digital is almost impossible. Let us take a look at the most common everyday applications that involve the use of these signals.


Could you guess which ones fall into which category?


YES! You guessed it right. The top row includes the devices that involve analog signals while the bottom one shows the digital equipment.

This is just a minor topic in the vast ocean of electronics and would help you fix the basics in the field of electronics. As you have seen, the properties of analog and digital signals vary vastly and necessary ones have to be used accordingly.


See Also:

  1. Interfacing 16*2 LCD with Raspberry Pi using an I2C backpack.

  2. Light Emitting Diode

#AnalogEngineering

#DigitalEngineering

#BasicElectronics

#UnderstandingConcepts

#Comparison

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