Why Digital Communication is preferred over Analog Communication?

Introduction:-

Communication is the process of establishing Connection (or) link between two points (which are separated by some distance) and transporting information between those two points. The electronic equipment used for communication purpose is called Communication equipment. The equipment when assembled together forms a communication system.

Examples of different types of communications are

  • Line Telephony & Telegraphy.
  • Radio Broadcasting.
  • Point-to-Point Communication.
  • Mobile Communication.
  • TV Broadcasting.
  • Radar and Satellite Communications etc.

Why Digital?

A General Communication system has two devices and a medium (channel) connecting those two devices. This can be understood that a Transmitter and Receiver are separated by a medium called as Communication channel. To transport an information-bearing signal from one point to another point over a communication channel either Analog or digital modulation techniques are used.

Now Coming to the point, Why Digital communication is preferred over analog Communication?

Why are communication systems, military and commercial alike, going digital?

  1. There are many reasons; the primary advantage is the ease with which digital signals compared with analog signals are generated. That is the generation of digital signals is much easier compared to analog signals.
  2. Propagation of Digital pulse through a Transmission line:-

When an ideal binary digital pulse propagating along a Transmission line. The shape of the waveform is affected by two mechanisms

  • Distortion caused on the ideal pulse because all Transmission lines and Circuits have some Non-ideal frequency Transfer function.
  • Unwanted electrical noise (or) other interference further distorts the pulse wave form.

Both of these mechanisms cause the pulse shape to degrade as a function of line length. During the time that the transmitted pulse can still be reliably identified (i.e. before it is degraded to an ambiguous state). The pulse is amplified by a digital amplifier that recovers its original ideal shape. The pulse is thus “re-born” (or) regenerated.

Circuits that perform this function at regular intervals along Transmission system are called “regenerative repeaters’. This is one of the reasons why Digital is preferred over Analog.

3.Digital Circuits Vs Analog Circuits:-

Digital Circuits are less subject to distortion and Interference than are analog circuits because binary digital circuits operate in one of two states FULLY ON (or) FULLY OFF to be meaningful, a disturbance must be large enough to change the circuit operating point from one state to another. Such two state operation facilitates signal representation and thus prevents noise and other disturbances from accumulating in transmission.

However, analog signals are not two-state signals, they can take an infinite variety of shapes with analog circuits and even a small disturbance can render the reproduced wave form unacceptably distorted. Once the analog signal is distorted, the distortion cannot be removed by amplification because accumulated noise is irrecoverably bound to analog signals, they cannot be perfectly generated.

 4. With digital techniques, extremely low error rates and high signal fidelity is possible through error detection and correction but similar procedures are not available with analog techniques.

5.  Digital circuits are more reliable and can be produced at a lower cost than analog circuits also; digital hardware lends itself to more flexible implementation than analog hardware.

Ex: – Microprocessors, Digital switching and large scale Integrated circuits.

6. The combining of Digital signals using Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) is simpler than the combining of analog signals using Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM).

7. Digital techniques lend themselves naturally to signal processing functions that protect against interference and jamming (or) that provide encryption and privacy and also much data communication is from computer to computer (or) from digital instruments (or) terminal to computer, such digital terminations are normally best served by Digital Communication links.

8. Digital systems tend to be very signal-processing intensive compared with analog systems.

Apart from pros there exists a con in Digital Communications that is non-graceful degradation when the SNR drops below a certain threshold, the quality of service can change suddenly from very good to very poor. In contrast most analog Communication Systems degrade more gracefully.

 

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Author: Lakshmi Prasanna Ponnala

Completed M.Tech in Digital Electronics and Communication Systems and currently working as a faculty.