Analog Communication – Pulse Modulation

After continuous wave modulation, the next division is Pulse modulation. In this chapter, let us discuss the following analog pulse modulation techniques.

  • Pulse Amplitude Modulation
  • Pulse Width Modulation
  • Pulse Position Modulation

Pulse Amplitude Modulation

In Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) technique, the amplitude of the pulse carrier varies, which is proportional to the instantaneous amplitude of the message signal.

The pulse amplitude modulated signal will follow the amplitude of the original signal, as the signal traces out the path of the whole wave. In natural PAM, a signal sampled at Nyquist rate can be reconstructed, by passing it through an efficient Low Pass Filter (LPF) with exact cutoff frequency.

The following figures explain the Pulse Amplitude Modulation.

Modulating Signal
Carrier Pulse Train
Natural Pam

Though the PAM signal is passed through a LPF, it cannot recover the signal without distortion. Hence, to avoid this noise, use flat-top sampling. The flat-top PAM signal is shown in the following figure.

Flat Top Pam

Flat-top sampling is the process in which, the sampled signal can be represented in pulses for which the amplitude of the signal cannot be changed with respect to the analog signal, to be sampled. The tops of amplitude remain flat. This process simplifies the circuit design.

Pulse Width Modulation

In Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) or Pulse Duration Modulation (PDM) or Pulse Time Modulation (PTM) technique, the width or the duration or the time of the pulse carrier varies, which is proportional to the instantaneous amplitude of the message signal.

The width of the pulse varies in this method, but the amplitude of the signal remains constant. Amplitude limiters are used to make the amplitude of the signal constant. These circuits clip off the amplitude to a desired level, and hence the noise is limited.

The following figure explains the types of Pulse Width Modulations.

Types of Pulse Width Modulations

There are three types of PWM.

·        The leading edge of the pulse being constant, the trailing edge varies according to the message signal. The waveform for this type of PWM is denoted as (a) in the above figure.

·        The trailing edge of the pulse being constant, the leading edge varies according to the message signal. The waveform for this type of PWM is denoted as (b) in the above figure.

·        The center of the pulse being constant, the leading edge and the trailing edge varies according to the message signal. The waveform for this type of PWM is denoted as (c) shown in the above figure.

Pulse Position Modulation

Pulse Position Modulation (PPM) is an analog modulation scheme in which, the amplitude and the width of the pulses are kept constant, while the position of each pulse, with reference to the position of a reference pulse varies according to the instantaneous sampled value of the message signal.

The transmitter has to send synchronizing pulses (or simply sync pulses) to keep the transmitter and the receiver in sync. These sync pulses help to maintain the position of the pulses. The following figures explain the Pulse Position Modulation.

PPM Base Band Signal
PPM Periodic Sequential Pulse Train
PWM PPM Signal

Pulse position modulation is done in accordance with the pulse width modulated signal. Each trailing edge of the pulse width modulated signal becomes the starting point for pulses in PPM signal. Hence, the position of these pulses is proportional to the width of the PWM pulses.

Advantage

As the amplitude and the width are constant, the power handled is also constant.

Disadvantage

The synchronization between the transmitter and the receiver is a must.

Comparison between PAM, PWM, and PPM

The following table presents the comparison between three modulation techniques.

PAMPWMPPM
Amplitude is variedWidth is variedPosition is varied
Bandwidth depends on the width of the pulseBandwidth depends on the rise time of the pulseBandwidth depends on the rise time of the pulse
Instantaneous transmitter power varies with the amplitude of the pulsesInstantaneous transmitter power varies with the amplitude and the width of the pulsesInstantaneous transmitter power remains constant with the width of the pulses
System complexity is highSystem complexity is lowSystem complexity is low
Noise interference is highNoise interference is lowNoise interference is low
It is similar to amplitude modulationIt is similar to frequency modulationIt is similar to phase modulation

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