Data and Signals Study notes

  • Data must be transformed to electromagnetic signals to be transmitted.
  • Data can be analog or digital. Analog data are continuous and take continuous values. Digital data have discrete states and take discrete values.
  • Signals can be analog or digital. Analog signals can have an infinite number of values in a range; digital ,signals can have only a limited number of values.
  • In data communications, we commonly use periodic analog signals and nonperiodic digital signals.
  • Frequency and period are the inverse of each other.
  • Frequency is the rate of change with respect to time.
  • Phase describes the position of the waveform relative to time O.
  • A complete sine wave in the time domain can be represented by one single spike in the frequency domain.
  • A single-frequency sine wave is not useful in data communications; we need to send a composite signal, a signal made of many simple sine waves.
  • According to Fourier analysis, any composite signal is a combination of simple sine waves with different frequencies, amplitudes, and phases.
  • The bandwidth of a composite signal is the difference between the highest and the lowest frequencies contained in that signal.
  • A digital signal is a composite analog signal with an infinite bandwidth.
  • Baseband transmission of a digital signal that preserves the shape of the digital signal is possible only if we have a low-pass channel with an infinite or very wide bandwidth.
  • If the available channel is a bandpass channel, we cannot send a digital signal directly to the channel; we need to convert the digital signal to an analog signal before transmission.
  • For a noiseless channel, the Nyquist bit rate formula defines the theoretical maximum bit rate. For a noisy channel, we need to use the Shannon capacity to find the maximum bit rate.
  • Attenuation, distortion, and noise can impair a signal.
  • Attenuation is the loss of a signal’s energy due to the resistance of the medium.
  • Distortion is the alteration of a signal due to the differing propagation speeds of each of the frequencies that make up a signal.
  • Noise is the external energy that corrupts a signal.
  • The bandwidth-delay product defines the number of bits that can fill the link.


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