I read from the book that we use estimation when we are dealing with analog signal or continuous random variable and the term detection when the transmitted signal is a discrete value even if a received signal is continuous. I want to know if in digital communication we use both estimation and detection and in which step we do these process. Also, when we do equalization in the process.

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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like the book was not about communications. Because outside of the book's context one could easily define detection as either the process, that includes estimation, or as a pure estimation. Could you please share the title? $\endgroup$ – megasplash Jan 18 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ John R Barry chapter 7 starting. $\endgroup$ – Keshari893 Jan 19 at 16:03

Don't worry too much about defining these terms too precisely, because they are used in many contexts with slightly different meanings.

In very general terms, "estimation" is the calculation of a signal parameter, for example the phase, the mean, the PSD, etc. In other words, you have a signal, possibly noisy or distorted, and you want to find something about it.

"Detection" is concerned with whether you actually have a signal or not; think about radar, where you send a pulse, and wait to see if you detect the reflection. Since recovering the information from a PAM signal is based on the same principle (i.e. matched filtering), in digital communications it is common to say that transmitted symbols are detected.


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