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Difference between Analog and Digital Signal in Tabular Form

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Analog signals and Digital signals are the two categories of signals. These signals are utilized in order to broadcast different types of information. Analog signals are the ones that observe analog methodology to broadcast information in such a fashion that they can be analyzed at any instant of time while Digital signals can be characterized by discrete values which are actually a whole number.

When it is a concern to measure an analog signal, it can be measured at any instant of time such as at 0 seconds, 0.2 seconds, 0.8 seconds, 1.7 seconds and any value which can be represented in decimal. When the signal is digital in nature, it can be measured only at discrete values like 1, 2, 3, 4,5,6 and any value which can be represented in non-decimal form.

Another distinguishing factor between analog and digital signals is the limitation of signal amplitude. Analog signals can have as much as amplitude without any boundary. The amplitude primarily depends on the signal strength. In digital signals, amplitude possesses two states only such as ON and OFF states. At ON state, the signal amplitude is high which means that it contains certain information whereas at OF state, the signal amplitude is low which means that it does not contain any information. Both the signal methodologies have their own merits and demerits and are utilized in various electrical and electronic applications.

Difference between Analog and Digital Signal in Tabular Form

CharacteristicsAnalog SignalDigital Signal
Adaptability Are less adaptable to variety of useAre more adaptable to variety of use
Continuity Takes on continuous range of amplitude valuesTakes on finite set of discrete values at uniform spaced points in the time
Representation
Type of DataContinuous in natureDiscrete in nature
Wave typesSine wavesSquare wave
Medium of transmission Wire/wirelessWire
Type of valuesPositive/negative (sine wave half cycles)Positive values only
SecurityNon-EncryptionEncryption
Capacity/bandwidthLowHigh
HardwareAnalog hardware is not flexibleDigital hardware is flexible in implementation
Data storageStores data in the form of wave signalStores data in the form of binary bits
Portability It is of low cost and easily portable like thermometerIt is expensive and not easily portable like computers
Data transmissionSignal deterioration because of noise during transmissionSignal can be noise immune during transmission without any deterioration
ImpedanceLowHigh (in the order of 100 Mega-Ohm)
Power consumption Analog istruments consume large amount of powerDigital instruments consume very small amount of power
Recording dataRecords sound wave as they areConverts into a binary waveform
Use Can be used in analog devices solelySuitable for digital electronic devices such as computers and cell phones
Rate of data transmissionSlower when compared to digitalMuch faster with better productivity
ExamplesHuman Voice in air, vidoe, radio/TV transmission wavesText, integers, images, computer format files (CD, HDD)
ApplicationsThermometerPDA, PCs

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About Ahmad Faizan

Mr. Ahmed Faizan Sheikh, M.Sc. (USA), Research Fellow (USA), a member of IEEE & CIGRE, is a Fulbright Alumnus and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical and Power Engineering from Kansas State University, USA.