Delta Modulation (DM) | web4study

Delta Modulation (DM)

Category: Bachelor of Computer Science , Data Communications and Networking ,

PCM is a very complex technique. Other techniques have been developed to reduce the complexity of PCM. The simplest is delta modulation. PCM finds the value of the signal amplitude for each sample; DM finds the change from the previous sample. Figure 4.28 shows the process. Note that there are no code words here; bits are sent one after another.

The process of delta modulation


The modulator is used at the sender site to create a stream of bits from an analog signal. The process records the small positive or negative changes, called delta δ. If the delta is positive, the process records a 1; if it is negative, the process records a 0. However, the process needs a base against which the analog signal is compared. The modulator builds a second signal that resembles a staircase. Finding the change is then reduced to comparing the input signal with the gradually made staircase signal. Figure 4.29 shows a diagram of the process.

Delta modulation components

The modulator, at each sampling interval, compares the value of the analog signal with the last value of the staircase signal. If the amplitude of the analog signal is larger, the next bit in the digital data is 1; otherwise, it is 0. The output of the comparator, however, also makes the staircase itself. If the next bit is 1, the staircase maker moves the last point of the staircase signal δ up; if the next bit is 0, it moves it δ down. Note that we need a delay unit to hold the staircase function for a period between two comparisons.


The demodulator takes the digital data and, using the staircase maker and the delay unit, creates the analog signal. The created analog signal, however, needs to pass through a low-pass filter for smoothing. Figure 4.30 shows the schematic diagram.

Delta demodulation components

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