Attenuation can be defined as the loss in signal power when it is propagating through a communication medium, whereas, distortion is the change in the signal properties which are not uniform. Distortion is of many types - amplitude distortion, phase distortion etc. Both are dependent on the properties of the communication medium. Distortion occurs if multiple components of the signal undergo different attenuation thereby waveform of the signal is changed. Distortion occurs if the medium properties are not uniform.
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