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Digital signals

Review your understanding of digital signals in this free article aligned to NGSS standards.

Key points:

  • Information can be stored in digital or analog form. Digital information is made from a certain set of values, or digits. Analog information is made from possibilities within a range.
  • For example, a digital clock can show time with the exact values 0-9. But the hands on an analog clock can point to any value in the range from 0-12.
A clock shows the numbers 12 colon 59 colon 47 at the top. The letters H R S are below 12, M I N S are below 59 and S E C S are below 47.
A digital clock displays time with exact numbers.
The face of a clock is shown. The numbers 1 to 12 are equally-spaced around the face and marked by tick marks. There are 4 shorter tick marks between each number. There is a short arrow hand that points between 12 and 1. There is a long arrow hand that points between 7 and 8. A long straight hand points between 10 and 11.
An analog clock displays time as any possibility within a range.
  • Information in waves can be transmitted with either digital or analog signals using wave properties like frequency or amplitude.
    • The properties of a digital signal match specific values, or digits in their set of values.
    • The properties of an analog signal can be any value within a range.
  • Digital signals are more reliable because interference or noise can be easily removed from the received signal. However, every change within an analog signal contains some information, so interference or noise can be almost impossible to remove.

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