In signal processing, "baseband" is an adjective that describes signals and systems whose range of frequencies is measured from zero to a maximum bandwidth or highest signal frequency; it is sometimes used as a noun for a band of frequencies starting at zero. It can often be considered as synonym to lowpass, and antonym to passband.

Various uses

* A baseband bandwidth is equal to the highest frequency of a signal or system, or an upper bound on such frequencies. [cite book | title = Information, Transmission, Modulation and Noise: A Unified Approach to Communication Systems | author = Mischa Schwartz | publisher = McGraw-Hill | year = 1970| url = ] By contrast, a non-baseband (passband) bandwidth is the difference between a highest frequency and a nonzero lowest frequency.
* A baseband signal or lowpass signal is a signal that can include frequencies that are equal to or very near zero, by comparison with its highest frequency (for example, a sound waveform can be considered as a baseband signal, whereas a radio signal or any other modulated signal is not). [cite book | title = Communication System Design Using Dsp Algorithms: With Laboratory Experiments for the TMS320C30 | author = Steven Alan Tretter | publisher = Springer | year = 1995 | isbn = 0306450321 | url =,M1 ]
* A baseband channel or lowpass channel (or system, or network) is a channel (e.g. a telecommunications system) that can transfer frequencies that are equal to or very near zero. [cite book | title = Digital Signal Transmission | author = Chris C. Bissell and David A. Chapman | publisher = Cambridge University Press | year = 1992 | isbn = 0521425573 | url = ] Examples are serial cables and local area networks (LANs).
* Baseband modulation, also known as line coding, [cite book | title = CMOS Data Converters for Communications | author = Mikael Gustavsson and J. Jacob Wikner | publisher = Springer | year = 2000 | isbn = 079237780X | url =] aims at transferring a digital bit stream over an analog baseband channel, as an alternative to "carrier-modulated" approaches. [cite book | title = Digital Baseband Transmission and Recording | author = Jan W. M. Bergmans | publisher = Springer | isbn = 0792397754 | year = 1996 | url = ]
* An equivalent baseband signal or equivalent lowpass signal is – in analog and digital modulation methods with constant carrier frequency (for example ASK, PSK and QAM, but not FSK) – a complex valued representation of the modulated physical signal (the so called passband signal or RF signal). The equivalent baseband signal is Z(t)=I(t)+jQ(t), where I(t) is the inphase signal, Q(t) the quadrature phase signal, and j the imaginary unit. In a digital modulation method, the I(t) and Q(t) signals of each modulation symbol are evident from the constellation diagram. The physical passband signal corresponds to:I(t)cos(omega t) - Q(t)sin(omega t) = mathrm{Re}{Z(t)e^{jomega t}},
where omega is the carrier angular frequency in rad/s.
* In an equivalent baseband model of a communication system, the modulated signal is replaced by a complex valued equivalent baseband signal with carrier frequency of 0 Hertz, and the RF channel is replaced by an equivalent baseband channel model where the frequency response is transferred to baseband frequencies.
* A signal "at baseband" is usually considered to include frequencies from near 0 Hz up to the highest frequency in the signal with significant power.

In general, signals can be described as including a whole range of different frequencies added together. In telecommunications in particular, it is often the case that those parts of the signal which are at low frequencies are 'copied' up to higher frequencies for transmission purposes, since there are few communications media that will pass low frequencies without distortion. Then, the original, low frequency components are referred to as the baseband signal. Typically, the new, high-frequency copy is referred to as the 'RF' (radio-frequency) signal.

The concept of baseband signals is most often applied to real-valued signals, and systems that handle real-value signals. Fourier analysis of such signals includes a negative-frequency band, but the negative-frequency information is just a mirror of the positive-frequency information, not new information. For complex-valued signals, on the other hand, the negative frequencies carry new information. In that case, the full two-sided bandwidth is generally quoted, rather than just the half measured from zero; the concept of baseband can be applied by treating the real and imaginary parts of the complex-valued signal as two different real signals.


A signal at baseband is often used to modulate a higher frequency carrier wave in order that it may be transmitted via radio. Modulation results in shifting the signal up to much higher frequencies (radio frequencies, or RF) than it originally spanned. A key consequence of the usual double-sideband amplitude modulation (AM) is that, usually, the range of frequencies the signal spans (its spectral bandwidth) is doubled. Thus, the RF bandwidth of a signal (measured from the lowest frequency as opposed to 0 Hz) is usually twice its baseband bandwidth. Steps may be taken to reduce this effect, such as single-sideband modulation; the highest frequency of such signals greatly exceeds the baseband bandwidth.

Some signals can be treated as baseband or not, depending on the situation. For example, a switched analog connection in the telephone network has energy below 300 Hz and above 3400 Hz removed by bandpass filtering; since the signal has no energy very close to zero frequency, it may not be considered a baseband signal, but in the telephone systems frequency-division multiplexing hierarchy, it is usually treated as a baseband signal, by comparison with the modulated signals used for long-distance transmission. The 300 Hz lower band edge in this case is treated as "near zero", being a small fraction of the upper band edge.

The figure shows what happens with AM modulation:

The simplest definition is that a signal's baseband bandwidth is its bandwidth before modulation and multiplexing, or after demultiplexing and demodulation.

The composite video signal created by devices such as most newer VCRs, game consoles and DVD players is a commonly used baseband signal.

ee also

*Broadband - generally refers to transmission of data over numerous frequencies
*Wideband - a communications medium or signal that spans a large (continuous) range of frequencies, or is wide compared to something else
*Narrowband - the opposite of wideband


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