Signal Generator

What Does Signal Generator Mean?

A signal generator is an electronic device that is capable of producing repeating or non-repeating waveforms. The waveform can be of different shapes and amplitude. Signal generators are mostly used in testing, troubleshooting, designing and repairing electronic devices.


Techopedia Explains Signal Generator

Signal generators are available in different types, each with different applications and purposes. They also have different designs and use different circuits, offering various levels of capability and functionality. As a result, no single signal generator is suited for all purposes. Examples of signal generators include:

  • Function generators — Capable of generating simple repetitive waveforms
  • Radio signal generators — Used to generate radio frequency signals
  • Vector signal generators — A special type of radio signal generator that generates radio frequency signals with complex modulation formats
  • Audio signal generators — Used in audio applications and have low levels of harmonic distortion
  • Arbitrary waveform generators — Can produce sophisticated waveforms, often specified by the user
  • Pulse generators — Create pulses as signal forms

Signal generators are normally used as electronic test equipment, but are also used in artistic applications. As they support a wide range of digital modulation formats, they are often used in modern wireless communication systems and are also used to test digital transmitters and receivers against complex requirements.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.