Distortion vs Noise
Distortion and noise are two different unwanted effects on signals. Systems are designed to minimize the effect of these two undesired phenomena. In data communication, if not properly addressed, effects of attenuation and distortion have the capability to make a data transfer unsuccessful.
Distortion is known as the alternation of the original signal. This may happen due to the properties of the medium. There are many types of distortions such as amplitude distortion, harmonic distortion and phase distortion. For electromagnetic waves, polarization distortions are also occurred. When the distortion occurs, shape of the waveform is changed.
For example, amplitude distortion happens if all the parts of the signals are not equally amplified. This happens in wireless transmissions because the medium get changed by the time. The receivers should be able to identify these distortions.
Noise is an unwanted random signal that is added (superposition) to a signal. Noise is added on signals due to many natural reasons when it is travelling through a medium. Noise can randomly fluctuate the signals, and it disturbs the process of revealing the information sent through a signal.
Noise can occur due to natural or artificial reasons. There are many types of noise such as thermal noise, shot noise, flicker noise, burst noise and avalanche noise in electronics. White noise and Gaussian noise are statistically defined noise types. Some of the noise is unavoidable, and only the effect of them on signal can be minimized.
Effect of the noise on a signal is measured using a parameter known as signal to noise (S/N) ratio (SNR). If the S/N ratio is small, effect of the noise is higher. If the S/N ratio is less than one and very low, revealing the information held in the signal is difficult.
What is the difference between Distortion and Noise?
1. Distortion is a change of the original signal, wheresa noise is an external random signal added to the original signal.
2. Removing the effects of noise is harder than removing the effects of distortion.
3. Noise has a more stochastic nature compared to distortion.