The *order* of a filter is defined as the order of its transfer
function, as discussed in Chapter 6. Thus, from Eq. (5.8), the
order of the general, causal, length FIR filter is
(provided ).

Note from Fig.5.5 that the order is also the *total number
of delay elements* in the filter. When the number of delay elements
in the implementation (Fig.5.5) is equal to the filter order, the
filter implementation is said to be *canonical with respect to
delay*. It is not possible to implement a given transfer function in
fewer delays than the transfer function order, but it is possible (and
sometimes even desirable) to have extra delays.

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