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What Does Signal Mean?

A signal is an electrical or electromagnetic current that is used for carrying data from one device or network to another.


It is the key component behind virtually all:

  • Communication
  • Computing
  • Networking
  • Electronic devices

A signal can be either analog or digital.

Techopedia Explains Signal

Typically, a signal is created when a command or data is sent to a device. It has implementation in electrical and electronic components as well, but it mainly refers to analog and digital communication technologies and devices. Each signal carries data in some form. The data is fed into the signal using analog or digital modulation techniques, depending upon the source and destination device and/or medium.

Besides communication devices that broadcast a signal externally to the host system, signals are also used to communicate and send instructions by:

  • Processors
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Numerous other components

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

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.