# Difference Between Unipolar Polar And Bipolar Line Coding Schemes

tl;dr
Unipolar line coding uses one polarity to represent digital data, polar line coding uses two polarities, and bipolar line coding uses three polarities, including an additional technique called Alternate Mark Inversion.

Difference Between Unipolar, Polar, and Bipolar Line Coding Schemes

Line coding is a process used in telecommunications and computer networks to convert digital data into a formatted sequence of signals suitable for transmission over a transmission medium. There are several line coding schemes available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will discuss the differences between three commonly used line coding schemes: unipolar, polar, and bipolar.

1. Unipolar Line Coding:

Unipolar line coding is the simplest form of line coding, where only one polarity is used to represent the digital data. In this scheme, the signal voltage is always positive or zero, representing a logical ‘1’ or ‘0’, respectively. For example, in binary, a positive voltage can represent a logical ‘1’, while no voltage (zero) can represent a logical ‘0’.

One of the main advantages of unipolar line coding is its simplicity, which makes it easy to implement and decode. However, it suffers from several limitations. Firstly, unipolar line coding is susceptible to baseline wander, which refers to small variations in the DC voltage level of the signal caused by factors such as noise and distortion. These variations can lead to incorrect decoding of the digital data.

Secondly, unipolar line coding is not suitable for long-distance communication as it requires a continuous power supply to maintain the high voltage level necessary for transmission. This characteristic makes it inefficient in terms of power consumption compared to other line coding schemes.

2. Polar Line Coding:

Polar line coding, also known as bipolar line coding, overcomes some of the limitations of unipolar line coding by using both positive and negative voltages to represent the digital data. In this scheme, a positive voltage represents a logical ‘1’, while a negative voltage represents a logical ‘0’. This allows for better signal integrity and reduces the risk of baseline wander.

One of the main advantages of polar line coding is its improved noise immunity. By using both positive and negative voltage levels, the receiver can differentiate between actual signals and noise, reducing the likelihood of errors in data transmission. Additionally, polar line coding is more power-efficient than unipolar line coding because it does not require a continuous power supply to maintain a high voltage level.

However, polar line coding also has some drawbacks. It requires a synchronization mechanism between the transmitter and the receiver to ensure that the voltage transitions occur at the correct timings. Without proper synchronization, the receiver may misinterpret the data, resulting in errors. Furthermore, polar line coding is not suitable for long-distance communication as it requires a well-defined reference voltage level. Any variations in the reference voltage can lead to incorrect decoding of the digital data.

3. Bipolar Line Coding:

Bipolar line coding is an advanced version of polar line coding that further improves the efficiency and reliability of data transmission. In this scheme, the signal voltage is a combination of positive, negative, and zero values. A logical ‘1’ is represented by a positive or negative voltage, while a logical ‘0’ is represented by zero voltage. Bipolar line coding also includes an additional line coding technique called Alternate Mark Inversion (AMI).

AMI is used to minimize the DC component of the signal and provide additional noise immunity. It works by alternating the polarity of consecutive logical ‘1’s, so that no DC component is present when there is no logical ‘1’ being transmitted. This reduces the risk of baseline wander and enhances the signal integrity.

One of the major advantages of bipolar line coding is its power efficiency. By eliminating the need for a continuous power supply to maintain a high voltage level, it reduces power consumption compared to both unipolar and polar line coding schemes. Additionally, bipolar line coding provides better error detection capability as the presence of a zero voltage between consecutive logical ‘1’s helps in identifying transmission errors.

However, bipolar line coding also introduces some challenges. It requires proper synchronization between the transmitter and the receiver to ensure correct voltage transitions and timing. Moreover, the presence of the zero voltage level reduces the maximum data rate that can be achieved compared to the other line coding schemes.

In conclusion, the choice of line coding scheme depends on the specific requirements of the application. Unipolar line coding is the simplest but has limitations in terms of power efficiency and susceptibility to baseline wander. Polar line coding, on the other hand, provides better noise immunity, but requires synchronization and a well-defined reference voltage level. Bipolar line coding further improves power efficiency and provides better error detection capability but reduces the maximum achievable data rate. Understanding the differences between these line coding schemes is crucial in selecting the most appropriate one for a given communication system.