1. (SNR, "s/n ratio", "s:n ratio") "Signal" refers to useful information conveyed by some communications medium, and "noise" to anything else on that medium. The ratio of these is usually expressed logarithmically, in decibels.
2. The term is often applied to Usenet newsgroups though figures are never given. Here it is quite common to have more noise (inappropriate postings which contribute nothing) than signal (relevant, useful or interesting postings). The signal gets lost in the noise when it becomes too much effort to try to find interesting articles among all the crud. Posting "noise" is probably the worst breach of netiquette and is a waste of bandwidth.[Jargon File]
Last updated: 1996-01-29