Glossary

Analog

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analog or analogueAnalog is a method of transmitting information by converting it into electrical signals. By varying the amplitude (height) of the signal, different information can be exchanged. The signal is continuous, as represented by a sine wave, in that it contains a range of values without any breaks or abrupt changes. The human voice is an example of such a signal. Analog devices record, or send, information exactly as it is without changing the underlying waveform. Analogue information transmissions are vulnerable to interference from noise and deterioration.

This is in contrast to digital systems where the information is converted into binary form. The binary system is based on a discrete system of 0s and 1s. Analog information stored in digital format, like a song in MP3 format, loses some quality from the original because of this discrete method of representing information. The quality is determined by the sampling rate. A 192kpbs MP3 file is sampled more frequently than a 96kbps, which means it contains more information from the original song.

While much of our lives are dominated by digital devices, we still experience analog information in everyday life and many devices still use analog today. Standard broadcast television and telephone connections are analogue. Also video and audio magnetic tape, traditionally used for recording, are also analog.

It should be noted that there are ways for converting analog signals into digital signals and similarly, digital signals can also be converted into analog signals. Theoretically, the resolution of an analogue signal is infinite but in practice, it is subjected to distortion and electronic disturbances or noise.

Regarding data transmission and storage, an analog format can be said to be one in which data or information is transmitted by merging it with the carrier signal to a continuously transmissible signal. As for example, the signal’s strength can be amplified or its frequency can be changed to upload or download data.

Synonyms:
analogue
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