Analog vs. Digital Telecommunication Networks

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Telecommunication Networks

The most critical distinction between analog and digital communication is that analog communication employs analog signals for transmission and reception, whereas digital communication utilizes digital signals. Analog signals are time-varying signals that are continuously changing, whereas digital signals are discrete data. Digital communication has several benefits, including immunity to noise and interference due to higher signal-to-noise ratios. In digital communication, the usage of repeaters improves the SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) even further. Furthermore, compared to analog transmission, digital communication consumes less energy. Data is transmitted from the transmitter to the receiver via analog signals in analog communication. The amplitude of an analog signal varies continuously throughout time. An analog signal can carry any data, including speech, sound, and so on. Digital communication refers to the transmission of data between a sender and a recipient via digital signals. A square wave is used to express digital signals. Instead of continuous data, this signal has discontinuous values.

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Analog Telecommunication

The data in analog transmission must translate into an electronic signal. Because speech and sound are non-electric by nature, they may be transformed into electric signals using a transducer. After then, the signal is sent through the channel of communication. This mode of communication is best for communicating across short distances. Although using analog modulation schemes such as amplitude modulation and angle modulation, one may use long-distance telecommunication. The technique of modulating a low-frequency information stream with a high-frequency carrier frequency is known as modulation. After then, the signal is sent over the channel. As a result, one modulator is needed at the transmitting end, and one demodulator is necessary at the receiver end to recover the original input. The main disadvantage of analog communication is that the signal strength decreases as the distance traveled increases. As a result, the signal-to-noise ratio begins to deteriorate. Furthermore, since an analog signal is a continuous, time-varying signal, noise impacts it more than digital.

Digital Communication

The analog signal is sampled to create the digital signal. Analog signal data are taken, and they are quantified. Digital signals are often made up of either ON or OFF signals, that is, 0 and 1. The digital signal acquired after sampling and processing is modulated using digital modulation methods. Digital modulation techniques include PCM (Pulse Coded Modulation) and DPCM. Repeaters are used in the digital signal to boost the signal’s strength once it has traveled a certain distance. The information signal is amplified while the repeaters suppress the noise signal. As a result, repeaters efficiently maintain the SNR. The fact that digital communication is not affected by transmission errors is a huge benefit. Since the digital signal is not a continuously changing signal, this is the case. One can recover the original signal from the corrupted signal if noise effects are mixed with the digital signal. Since a digital signal comprises discrete data, if noise affects one of the signal’s amplitude levels, we can determine the range in which such a point fall.

Differences Between Analog and Digital Communication

Bandwidth

It is the primary distinction between analog and digital communication. Analog signals require less capacity to transmit, but digital signals demand more bandwidth to transmit.

Power Consumption

When compared to analog communication, digital communication requires less power. Because digital systems demand greater bandwidth, they utilize less electricity. And while analog communication systems use less bandwidth, they consume more electricity.

Fidelity

Fidelity is a significant distinction between digital and analog communication. Fidelity is the capability of a listener to acquire output that is ideally in sync with the sent input. When compared to analog communication, digital communication provides more fidelity.

Hardware Versatility

The infrastructure of an analog communications network is not as adaptable as that of a digital communication system. Digital technology hardware is small in size and requires less electricity.

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Rate of Error

Another vital distinction between analog and digital communication is the error rate. There is an inaccuracy in analog equipment owing to diffraction or other types of observational methods.

Synchronization

Synchronization is available in digital communication systems, which is not available in analog communication. As a result, synchronization distinguishes Analog and Digital communication.

Cost

Digital communication hardware is expensive, and digital signals need a larger bandwidth for relaying.

Analog communication is solely based on utilizing a time series changing signal to transmit information from transmitter to recipient. Digital communication, on the other hand, makes use of digital technology to transmit messages through a channel. With the development of digital technology, analog communication is quickly becoming outdated. The disadvantage of adopting digital communication is that it takes more capacity for transmission, making it more expensive (Subramanian et al., 2010). Thus, if cost is not a problem, we may utilize digital communication, but we should use analog if we require a low-cost system. Digital signals are more dependable, easier to build, and less expensive than analog signals. The implementation in digital systems is more versatile than in analog, and the implementation of digital signals is more straightforward than that of analog signals. Analog signals are ideally suited for audio and video transmission since they have a more significant density and convey more precise data. Analog signals have a lower bandwidth need than digital signals.

References

Subramanian, M., Gonsalves, T., & Rani, N. (2010). Network management: Principles and practice. (2nd ed.). Prentice Hall.

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