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The sound compression uses techniques that conform to MPEG standards. Also radio transmission uses a form of signal modulation known as Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex or COFDM. Here data representing sounds and other data to be transmitted is spread across a large number of close spaced radio signals. By spreading data over a wide frequency in this way whole transmission is less susceptible to noise and other forms of interference including fading and multi-path interference.
Multipath interference results when signals are reflected from objects such as hills and buildings and several signals from transmitter arrive at receiver, all at slightly different times because they have travelled over slightly different paths and have taken slightly different times to travel. For VHF FM this is a particular problem and often results in signal becoming distorted. DAB digital radio is able to combine all signals, and make overall reception more robust.
Naturally technology to enable all this to happen makes radio receivers more complicated. However improvements in integrated circuit technology in recent years have enabled required capabilities to be built into a radio for a reasonable cost. It is also expected to fall further as DAB becomes better established.
Summary DAB Digital Radio is a great improvement over analogue transmissions that are broadcast. Offering possibility of better quality audio, accompanying data, push button tuning and no requirement to re-tune when moving from one service area to next, it is certainly provides a considerable improvement over older analogue broadcasts. By offering all these facilities, it sets DAB digital radio in a position to take over as new form of broadcasting for 21st Century.
Ian Poole is an award winning writer and consultant on radio electronics technology. He is also editor at Radio-Electronics.Com (www.radio-electronics.com) an Internet resource of free information, data and articles.