What is the difference between digital and analog?
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
Comparison of digital and analog technology
Just as nationwide TV networks have always broadcast with analog technology, land line telephones and most cell phones historically used analog signals. From a technical perspective, the differences from digital are significant. As a user, you will enjoy the benefits and capabilities of digital networks greatly, but voice quality improvements may or may not be discernible.
Analog technology uses changes in amplitude and/or frequency to transmit voice or data signals. Relying on a continuous electronic signal, employing increases or decreases in amplitude or different frequencies, analog technology has served us well in TV, telephone, and original computer communications.
Its limitations, however, are many. Among the more important are its susceptibility to outside interference (thereby causing problems with transmissions), tendency for quality downgrades over greater distances from the sending point, lack of ability to send high volumes of information, and, sometimes, sporadic voice and data reception.
Digital technology eliminates most, if not all, of the shortcomings of analog transmissions. Digital networks send “pulses” instead of a constant stream of electricity. These pulses are in digital format, just as your computer works and thinks.
This feature eliminates most of the potential outside interference, maintains quality signals over long distances, allows data to be “compressed” so huge amounts of information can be sent quickly, and delivers a much more consistent signal quality most of the time.
Cell phone voice quality is improved and all forms of other PDA services (text messaging, Internet connections, e-mail, etc.) are now available to you from your wireless carriers. There are still cell phones and networks that use analog technology for cost and reliability reasons. Yet, in the future all will eventually be digital.
Comment on this FAQ
More Cell Phones FAQs