I'm kind of confused about digital transmission.

Is the bandwidth occupied by some digital signal the Fourier spectrum of the bit (pulse) format,or the one determined by the bit rate?


1 Answer 1


Bandwidth is of course occupied by the signal itself. The modulation design of the signal determines the bandwidth. That's why pulse shaping techniques are adopted by many different kind of modulation techniques.

However, our bandwidth we occupy has a DIRECT relation with our maximum bit rate. In Shannon's theorem:

$$ C = B * log_2(1 + S/N) $$


  • C = channel capacity (bits/s),
  • B = channel bandwidth (Hz),
  • S = signal strength (watts),
  • N = noise power (watts).

This theorem tells us that we CANNOT transmit more bits per second through that channel in good condition.

Hence, our signal determines our bandwidth, and our bandwidth determines our maximum achievable bit rate.

It depends on some number of things like Inter Symbol Interference and Nyquist Theorem. It's relatively a long topic to explain each element. Please take a look at the terms I have mentioned (Nyquist and Inter-Symbol Interference) and if there is a spot if you have a hard time to understand, please don't hesitate to ask.

As always, Have a nice day.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for your time and knowledge. By saying signal bandwidth,do you mean the Fourier Transform of the pulse used to represent the bits? $\endgroup$
    – Mateus R.
    Oct 20, 2017 at 23:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Generally simple algorithm to find bandwidth is: 1) you take fft of the signal. 2) you look at the signal/power that takes %99 of the whole power. 3) measure that area in the terms of frequency. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2017 at 8:17

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