Noise margin

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In electrical engineering, noise margin is the amount by which a signal exceeds the minimum amount for proper operation. It is commonly used in at least two contexts:

  • In communications system engineering, noise margin is the ratio by which the signal exceeds the minimum acceptable amount. It is normally measured in decibels.
  • In a digital circuit, the noise margin is the amount by which the signal exceeds the threshold for a proper '0' or '1'. For example, a digital circuit might be designed to swing between 0.0 and 1.2 volts, with anything below 0.2 volts considered a '0', and anything above 1.0 volts considered a '1'. Then the noise margin for a '0' would be the amount that a signal is below 0.2 volts, and the noise margin for a '1' would be the amount by which a signal exceeds 1.0 volt. In this case noise margins are measured as an absolute voltage, not a ratio. Noise margins for CMOS chips is usually much greater than TTL because the VOH min is closer to the power supply voltage and VOL max is closer to zero.

In simple words, Noise margin (in circuits) is the amount of noise that a circuit can withstand. Noise margins are generally defined so that positive values ensure proper operation, and negative margins result in compromised operation, or perhaps outright failure.

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External links[edit]

  • DMT, a DSL monitoring and downstream noise margin tweaking program.