Browse Definitions :

analog-to-digital conversion (ADC)

Analog-to-digital conversion is an electronic process in which a continuously variable (analog) signal is changed, without altering its essential content, into a multi-level (digital) signal.

The input to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) consists of a voltage that varies among a theoretically infinite number of values. Examples are sine waves, the waveforms representing human speech, and the signals from a conventional television camera. The output of the ADC, in contrast, has defined levels or states. The number of states is almost always a power of two -- that is, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. The simplest digital signals have only two states, and are called binary. All whole numbers can be represented in binary form as strings of ones and zeros.

Digital signals propagate more efficiently than analog signals, largely because digital impulses, which are well-defined and orderly, are easier for electronic circuits to distinguish from noise, which is chaotic. This is the chief advantage of digital modes in communications. Computers "talk" and "think" in terms of binary digital data; while a microprocessor can analyze analog data, it must be converted into digital form for the computer to make sense of it.

A typical telephone modem makes use of an ADC to convert the incoming audio from a twisted-pair line into signals the computer can understand. In a digital signal processing system, an ADC is required if the signal input is analog.

This was last updated in April 2005



  • cyber attack

    A cyber attack is any attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer, computing system or computer network with the intent to ...

  • backdoor (computing)

    A backdoor is a means to access a computer system or encrypted data that bypasses the system's customary security mechanisms.

  • post-quantum cryptography

    Post-quantum cryptography, also called quantum encryption, is the development of cryptographic systems for classical computers ...



  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...