Digital Communications

Another feature of satellite communications is that they are predominantly digital. In terms of satellite communications, digital means that effectively all the information in the communications link is converted into a string zeros and ones, each "0'' and "1" being referred to as a bit (binary digit) of information. This binary digital language is the same as that used by your desktop computer to perform its routine internal operations and to communicate with other computers across worldwide digital networks. In recent years, the use of this digital technique has increased, being applied to television, radio, photography, music, and more. In these areas, and in space communications, the advantage of digital methods is that they produce a better quality of sound or picture, as it is generally easier to distinguish a digital signal from the various sources of interference which compete with it. It is amazing to think how such huge communications and consumer electronics industries can be built on the use of a language that is fundamentally made up of just zeros and ones!

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