In telecommunications and computer networks, multiplexing (sometimes contracted to muxing) is a method by which multiple analog or digital signals are combined into one signal over a shared medium. The aim is to share a scarce resource. For example, in telecommunications, several telephone calls may be carried using one wire. Multiplexing originated in telegraphy in the 1870s, and is now widely applied in communications. In telephony, George Owen Squier is credited with the development of telephone carrier multiplexing in 1910.

The multiplexed signal is transmitted over a communication channel such as a cable. The multiplexing divides the capacity of the communication channel into several logical channels, one for each message signal or data stream to be transferred. A reverse process, known as demultiplexing, extracts the original channels on the receiver end.

A device that performs the multiplexing is called a multiplexer (MUX), and a device that performs the reverse process is called a demultiplexer (DEMUX or DMX).

Inverse multiplexing (IMUX) has the opposite aim as multiplexing, namely to break one data stream into several streams, transfer them simultaneously over several communication channels, and recreate the original data stream.

Multiplexing diagram
Multiple low data rate signals are multiplexed over a single high data rate link, then demultiplexed at the other end


Multiple variable bit rate digital bit streams may be transferred efficiently over a single fixed bandwidth channel by means of statistical multiplexing. This is an asynchronous mode time-domain multiplexing which is a form of time-division multiplexing.

Digital bit streams can be transferred over an analog channel by means of code-division multiplexing techniques such as frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) and direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS).

In wireless communications, multiplexing can also be accomplished through alternating polarization (horizontal/vertical or clockwise/counterclockwise) on each adjacent channel and satellite, or through phased multi-antenna array combined with a multiple-input multiple-output communications (MIMO) scheme.

Space-division multiplexing

In wired communication, space-division multiplexing, also known as Space-division multiple access is the use of separate point-to-point electrical conductors for each transmitted channel. Examples include an analogue stereo audio cable, with one pair of wires for the left channel and another for the right channel, and a multi-pair telephone cable, a switched star network such as a telephone access network, a switched Ethernet network, and a mesh network.

In wireless communication, space-division multiplexing is achieved with multiple antenna elements forming a phased array antenna. Examples are multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), single-input and multiple-output (SIMO) and multiple-input and single-output (MISO) multiplexing. An IEEE 802.11g wireless router with k antennas makes it in principle possible to communicate with k multiplexed channels, each with a peak bit rate of 54 Mbit/s, thus increasing the total peak bit rate by the factor k. Different antennas would give different multi-path propagation (echo) signatures, making it possible for digital signal processing techniques to separate different signals from each other. These techniques may also be utilized for space diversity (improved robustness to fading) or beamforming (improved selectivity) rather than multiplexing.

Frequency-division multiplexing

Frequency-division multiplexing (FDM): The spectrum of each input signal is shifted to a distinct frequency range.

Frequency-division multiplexing (FDM) is inherently an analog technology. FDM achieves the combining of several signals into one medium by sending signals in several distinct frequency ranges over a single medium. In FDM the signals are electrical signals. One of the most common applications for FDM is traditional radio and television broadcasting from terrestrial, mobile or satellite stations, or cable television. Only one cable reaches a customer's residential area, but the service provider can send multiple television channels or signals simultaneously over that cable to all subscribers without interference. Receivers must tune to the appropriate frequency (channel) to access the desired signal.[1]

A variant technology, called wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) is used in optical communications.

Time-division multiplexing

Telephony multiplexer system
Time-division multiplexing (TDM).

Time-division multiplexing (TDM) is a digital (or in rare cases, analog) technology which uses time, instead of space or frequency, to separate the different data streams. TDM involves sequencing groups of a few bits or bytes from each individual input stream, one after the other, and in such a way that they can be associated with the appropriate receiver. If done sufficiently quickly, the receiving devices will not detect that some of the circuit time was used to serve another logical communication path.

Consider an application requiring four terminals at an airport to reach a central computer. Each terminal communicated at 2400 baud, so rather than acquire four individual circuits to carry such a low-speed transmission, the airline has installed a pair of multiplexers. A pair of 9600 baud modems and one dedicated analog communications circuit from the airport ticket desk back to the airline data center are also installed.[1] Some web proxy servers (e.g. polipo) use TDM in HTTP pipelining of multiple HTTP transactions onto the same TCP/IP connection.[2]

Carrier sense multiple access and multidrop communication methods are similar to time-division multiplexing in that multiple data streams are separated by time on the same medium, but because the signals have separate origins instead of being combined into a single signal, are best viewed as channel access methods, rather than a form of multiplexing.

TD is a legacy multiplexing technology still providing the backbone of most National fixed line Telephony networks in Europe, providing the 2m/bit voice and signalling ports on Narrow band Telephone exchanges such as the DMS100. Each E1 or 2m/bit TDM port provides either 30 or 31 speech timeslots in the case of CCITT7 signalling systems and 30 voice channels for customer connected Q931, DASS2, DPNSS, V5 and CASS signalling systems.

Polarization-division multiplexing

Polarization-division multiplexing uses the polarization of electromagnetic radiation to separate orthogonal channels. It is in practical use in both radio and optical communications, particularly in 100 Gbit/s per channel fiber optic transmission systems.

Orbital angular momentum multiplexing

Orbital angular momentum multiplexing is a relatively new and experimental technique for multiplexing multiple channels of signals carried using electromagnetic radiation over a single path.[3] It can potentially be used in addition to other physical multiplexing methods to greatly expand the transmission capacity of such systems. As of 2012 it is still in its early research phase, with small-scale laboratory demonstrations of bandwidths of up to 2.5 Tbit/s over a single light path.[4] This is a controversial subject in the academic community, with many claiming it is not a new method of multiplexing, but rather a special case of space-division multiplexing.[5]

Code-division multiplexing

Code division multiplexing (CDM), Code division multiple access (CDMA) or spread spectrum is a class of techniques where several channels simultaneously share the same frequency spectrum, and this spectral bandwidth is much higher than the bit rate or symbol rate. One form is frequency hopping, another is direct sequence spread spectrum. In the latter case, each channel transmits its bits as a coded channel-specific sequence of pulses called chips. Number of chips per bit, or chips per symbol, is the spreading factor. This coded transmission typically is accomplished by transmitting a unique time-dependent series of short pulses, which are placed within chip times within the larger bit time. All channels, each with a different code, can be transmitted on the same fiber or radio channel or other medium, and asynchronously demultiplexed. Advantages over conventional techniques are that variable bandwidth is possible (just as in statistical multiplexing), that the wide bandwidth allows poor signal-to-noise ratio according to Shannon-Hartley theorem, and that multi-path propagation in wireless communication can be combated by rake receivers.

A significant application of CDMA is the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Telecommunication multiplexing

Multiple access method

A multiplexing technique may be further extended into a multiple access method or channel access method, for example, TDM into time-division multiple access (TDMA) and statistical multiplexing into carrier-sense multiple access (CSMA). A multiple access method makes it possible for several transmitters connected to the same physical medium to share its capacity.

Multiplexing is provided by the Physical Layer of the OSI model, while multiple access also involves a media access control protocol, which is part of the Data Link Layer.

The Transport layer in the OSI model, as well as TCP/IP model, provides statistical multiplexing of several application layer data flows to/from the same computer.

Code-division multiplexing (CDM) is a technique in which each channel transmits its bits as a coded channel-specific sequence of pulses. This coded transmission typically is accomplished by transmitting a unique time-dependent series of short pulses, which are placed within chip times within the larger bit time. All channels, each with a different code, can be transmitted on the same fiber and asynchronously demultiplexed. Other widely used multiple access techniques are time-division multiple access (TDMA) and frequency-division multiple access (FDMA). Code-division multiplex techniques are used as an access technology, namely code-division multiple access (CDMA), in Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) standard for the third-generation (3G) mobile communication identified by the ITU.

Application areas


The earliest communication technology using electrical wires, and therefore sharing an interest in the economies afforded by multiplexing, was the electric telegraph. Early experiments allowed two separate messages to travel in opposite directions simultaneously, first using an electric battery at both ends, then at only one end.


In telephony, a customer's telephone line now typically ends at the remote concentrator box, where it is multiplexed along with other telephone lines for that neighborhood or other similar area. The multiplexed signal is then carried to the central switching office on significantly fewer wires and for much further distances than a customer's line can practically go. This is likewise also true for digital subscriber lines (DSL).

Fiber in the loop (FITL) is a common method of multiplexing, which uses optical fiber as the backbone. It not only connects POTS phone lines with the rest of the PSTN, but also replaces DSL by connecting directly to Ethernet wired into the home. Asynchronous Transfer Mode is often the communications protocol used.

Cable TV has long carried multiplexed television channels, and late in the 20th century began offering the same services as telephone companies. IPTV also depends on multiplexing.

Video processing

In video editing and processing systems, multiplexing refers to the process of interleaving audio and video into one coherent data stream.

In digital video, such a transport stream is normally a feature of a container format which may include metadata and other information, such as subtitles. The audio and video streams may have variable bit rate. Software that produces such a transport stream and/or container is commonly called a statistical multiplexer or muxer. A demuxer is software that extracts or otherwise makes available for separate processing the components of such a stream or container.

Digital broadcasting

In digital television systems, several variable bit-rate data streams are multiplexed together to a fixed bitrate transport stream by means of statistical multiplexing. This makes it possible to transfer several video and audio channels simultaneously over the same frequency channel, together with various services. This may involve several standard definition television (SDTV) programmes (particularly on DVB-T, DVB-S2, ISDB and ATSC-C), or one HDTV, possibly with a single SDTV companion channel over one 6 to 8 MHz-wide TV channel. The device that accomplishes this is called a statistical multiplexer. In several of these systems, the multiplexing results in an MPEG transport stream. The newer DVB standards DVB-S2 and DVB-T2 has the capacity to carry several HDTV channels in one multiplex.

In digital radio, a multiplex (also known as an ensemble) is a number of radio stations that are grouped together. A multiplex is a stream of digital information that includes audio and other data.[6]

On communications satellites which carry broadcast television networks and radio networks, this is known as multiple channel per carrier or MCPC. Where multiplexing is not practical (such as where there are different sources using a single transponder), single channel per carrier mode is used.

Analog broadcasting

In FM broadcasting and other analog radio media, multiplexing is a term commonly given to the process of adding subcarriers to the audio signal before it enters the transmitter, where modulation occurs. (In fact, the stereo multiplex signal can be generated using time-division multiplexing, by switching between the two (left channel and right channel) input signals at an ultrasonic rate (the subcarrier), and then filtering out the higher harmonics.) Multiplexing in this sense is sometimes known as MPX, which in turn is also an old term for stereophonic FM, seen on stereo systems since the 1960s.

Other meanings

In spectroscopy the term is used to indicate that the experiment is performed with a mixture of frequencies at once and their respective response unravelled afterwards using the Fourier transform principle.

In computer programming, it may refer to using a single in-memory resource (such as a file handle) to handle multiple external resources (such as on-disk files).[7]

Some electrical multiplexing techniques do not require a physical "multiplexer" device, they refer to a "keyboard matrix" or "Charlieplexing" design style:

  • Multiplexing may refer to the design of a multiplexed display (non-multiplexed displays are immune to break up).
  • Multiplexing may refer to the design of a "switch matrix" (non-multiplexed buttons are immune to "phantom keys" and also immune to "phantom key blocking").

In high-throughput DNA sequencing, the term is used to indicate that some artificial sequences (often called barcodes or indexes) have been added to link given sequence reads to a given sample, and thus allow for the sequencing of multiple samples in the same reaction.

See also


  1. ^ a b Bates, Regis J; Bates, Marcus (2007), Voice and Data Communications, ISBN 9780072257328
  2. ^ "rfc2068 - HTTP/1.1". Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  3. ^ Tamburini, Fabrizio; Mari, Elettra; Sponselli, Anna; Thidé, Bo; Bianchini, Antonio; Romanato, Filippo (2012-01-01). "Encoding many channels on the same frequency through radio vorticity: first experimental test". New Journal of Physics. 14 (3): 033001. arXiv:1107.2348. doi:10.1088/1367-2630/14/3/033001. ISSN 1367-2630.
  4. ^ "'Twisted light' carries 2.5 terabits of data per second". BBC News. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  5. ^ Tamagnone, Michele; Silva, Joana S.; Capdevila, Santiago; Mosig, Juan R.; Perruisseau-Carrier, Julien (2015). "The orbital angular momentum (OAM) multiplexing controversy: OAM as a subset of MIMO". 2015 9th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP): 1–5.
  6. ^ "All about DAB multiplexes". Radio & Television Investigation Service. BBC. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Multiplexing filehandles with select() in perl".

External links

Center frequency

In electrical engineering and telecommunications, the center frequency of a filter or channel is a measure of a central frequency between the upper and lower cutoff frequencies. It is usually defined as either the arithmetic mean or the geometric mean of the lower cutoff frequency and the upper cutoff frequency of a band-pass system or a band-stop system.

Typically, the geometric mean is used in systems based on certain transformations of lowpass filter designs, where the frequency response is constructed to be symmetric on a logarithmic frequency scale. The geometric center frequency corresponds to a mapping of the DC response of the prototype lowpass filter, which is a resonant frequency sometimes equal to the peak frequency of such systems, for example as in a Butterworth filter.

The arithmetic definition is used in more general situations, such as in describing passband telecommunication systems, where filters are not necessarily symmetric but are treated on a linear frequency scale for applications such as frequency-division multiplexing.

Channel access method

In telecommunications and computer networks, a channel access method or multiple access method allows more than two terminals connected to the same transmission medium to transmit over it and to share its capacity. Examples of shared physical media are wireless networks, bus networks, ring networks and point-to-point links operating in half-duplex mode.

A channel access method is based on multiplexing, that allows several data streams or signals to share the same communication channel or transmission medium. In this context, multiplexing is provided by the physical layer.

A channel access method is also based on a multiple access protocol and control mechanism, also known as medium access control (MAC). Medium access control deals with issues such as addressing, assigning multiplex channels to different users, and avoiding collisions. Media access control is a sub-layer in the data link layer of the OSI model and a component of the link layer of the TCP/IP model.

Code-division multiple access

Code-division multiple access (CDMA) is a channel access method used by various radio communication technologies.CDMA is an example of multiple access, where several transmitters can send information simultaneously over a single communication channel. This allows several users to share a band of frequencies (see bandwidth). To permit this without undue interference between the users, CDMA employs spread spectrum technology and a special coding scheme (where each transmitter is assigned a code).CDMA is used as the access method in many mobile phone standards. IS-95, also called "cdmaOne", and its 3G evolution CDMA2000, are often simply referred to as "CDMA", but UMTS, the 3G standard used by GSM carriers, also uses "wideband CDMA", or W-CDMA, as well as TD-CDMA and TD-SCDMA, as its radio technologies.

Computer multitasking

In computing, multitasking is the concurrent execution of multiple tasks (also known as processes) over a certain period of time. New tasks can interrupt already started ones before they finish, instead of waiting for them to end. As a result, a computer executes segments of multiple tasks in an interleaved manner, while the tasks share common processing resources such as central processing units (CPUs) and main memory. Multitasking automatically interrupts the running program, saving its state (partial results, memory contents and computer register contents) and loading the saved state of another program and transferring control to it. This "context switch" may be initiated at fixed time intervals (pre-emptive multitasking), or the running program may be coded to signal to the supervisory software when it can be interrupted (cooperative multitasking).

Multitasking does not require parallel execution of multiple tasks at exactly the same time; instead, it allows more than one task to advance over a given period of time. Even on multiprocessor computers, multitasking allows many more tasks to be run than there are CPUs.

Multitasking is a common feature of computer operating systems. It allows more efficient use of the computer hardware; where a program is waiting for some external event such as a user input or an input/output transfer with a peripheral to complete, the central processor can still be used with another program. In a time sharing system, multiple human operators use the same processor as if it was dedicated to their use, while behind the scenes the computer is serving many users by multitasking their individual programs. In multiprogramming systems, a task runs until it must wait for an external event or until the operating system's scheduler forcibly swaps the running task out of the CPU. Real-time systems such as those designed to control industrial robots, require timely processing; a single processor might be shared between calculations of machine movement, communications, and user interface. Often multitasking operating systems include measures to change the priority of individual tasks, so that important jobs receive more processor time than those considered less significant. Depending on the operating system, a task might be as large as an entire application program, or might be made up of smaller threads that carry out portions of the overall program.

A processor intended for use with multitasking operating systems may include special hardware to securely support multiple tasks, such as memory protection, and protection rings that ensure the supervisory software cannot be damaged or subverted by user-mode program errors.

The term "multitasking" has become an international term, as the same word is used in many other languages such as German, Italian, Dutch, Danish and Norwegian.

Concurrency (road)

A concurrency in a road network is an instance of one physical roadway bearing two or more different route numbers. When two roadways share the same right-of-way, it is sometimes called a common section or commons. Other terminology for a concurrency includes overlap, coincidence, duplex (two concurrent routes), triplex (three concurrent routes), multiplex (any number of concurrent routes), dual routing or triple routing.Concurrent numbering can become very common in jurisdictions that allow it. Where multiple routes must pass between a single mountain crossing or over a bridge, or through a major city, it is often economically and practically advantageous for them all to be accommodated on a single physical roadway. In some jurisdictions, however, concurrent numbering is avoided by posting only one route number on highway signs; these routes disappear at the start of the concurrency and reappear when it ends.


The E-carrier is a member of the series of carrier systems developed for digital transmission of many simultaneous telephone calls by time-division multiplexing. The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) originally standardized the E-carrier system, which revised and improved the earlier American T-carrier technology, and this has now been adopted by the International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T). It was widely adopted in almost all countries outside the US, Canada, and Japan. E-carrier deployments have steadily been replaced by Ethernet as telecommunication networks transitions towards all IP.

Frequency-division multiplexing

In telecommunications, frequency-division multiplexing (FDM) is a technique by which the total bandwidth available in a communication medium is divided into a series of non-overlapping frequency bands, each of which is used to carry a separate signal. This allows a single transmission medium such as a cable or optical fiber to be shared by multiple independent signals. Another use is to carry separate serial bits or segments of a higher rate signal in parallel.

The most natural example of frequency-division multiplexing is radio and television broadcasting, in which multiple radio signals at different frequencies pass through the air at the same time. Another example is cable television, in which many television channels are carried simultaneously on a single cable. FDM is also used by telephone systems to transmit multiple telephone calls through high capacity trunklines, communications satellites to transmit multiple channels of data on uplink and downlink radio beams, and broadband DSL modems to transmit large amounts of computer data through twisted pair telephone lines, among many other uses.

An analogous technique called wavelength division multiplexing is used in fiber-optic communication, in which multiple channels of data are transmitted over a single optical fiber using different wavelengths (frequencies) of light.

Frequency-hopping spread spectrum

Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching a carrier among many frequency channels, using a pseudorandom sequence known to both transmitter and receiver. It is used as a multiple access method in the code division multiple access (CDMA) scheme frequency-hopping code division multiple access (FH-CDMA).

Each available frequency band is divided into sub-frequencies. Signals rapidly change ("hop") among these in a predetermined order. Interference at a specific frequency will only affect the signal during that short interval. FHSS can, however, cause interference with adjacent direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) systems.

Adaptive frequency-hopping spread spectrum (AFH), a specific type of FHSS, is used in Bluetooth wireless data transfer.


In radio, multiple-input and multiple-output, or MIMO (), is a method for multiplying the capacity of a radio link using multiple transmission and receiving antennas to exploit multipath propagation. MIMO has become an essential element of wireless communication standards including IEEE 802.11n (Wi-Fi), IEEE 802.11ac (Wi-Fi), HSPA+ (3G), WiMAX (4G), and Long Term Evolution (4G LTE). More recently, MIMO has been applied to power-line communication for 3-wire installations as part of ITU standard and HomePlug AV2 specification.At one time, in wireless the term "MIMO" referred to the use of multiple antennas at the transmitter and the receiver. In modern usage, "MIMO" specifically refers to a practical technique for sending and receiving more than one data signal simultaneously over the same radio channel by exploiting multipath propagation. MIMO is fundamentally different from smart antenna techniques developed to enhance the performance of a single data signal, such as beamforming and diversity.


In electronics, a multiplexer (or mux) is a device that selects between several analog or digital input signals and forwards it to a single output line. A multiplexer of inputs has select lines, which are used to select which input line to send to the output. Multiplexers are mainly used to increase the amount of data that can be sent over the network within a certain amount of time and bandwidth. A multiplexer is also called a data selector. Multiplexers can also be used to implement Boolean functions of multiple variables.

An electronic multiplexer makes it possible for several signals to share one device or resource, for example, one A/D converter or one communication line, instead of having one device per input signal.

Conversely, a demultiplexer (or demux) is a device taking a single input signal and selecting one of many data-output-lines, which is connected to the single input. A multiplexer is often used with a complementary demultiplexer on the receiving end.

An electronic multiplexer can be considered as a multiple-input, single-output switch, and a demultiplexer as a single-input, multiple-output switch. The schematic symbol for a multiplexer is an isosceles trapezoid with the longer parallel side containing the input pins and the short parallel side containing the output pin. The schematic on the right shows a 2-to-1 multiplexer on the left and an equivalent switch on the right. The wire connects the desired input to the output.

Orbital angular momentum multiplexing

Orbital angular momentum (OAM) multiplexing is a physical layer method for multiplexing signals carried on electromagnetic waves using the orbital angular momentum of the electromagnetic waves to distinguish between the different orthogonal signals.Orbital angular momentum is one of two forms of angular momentum of light. OAM is distinct from, and should not be confused with, light spin angular momentum. The spin angular momentum of light offers only two orthogonal quantum states corresponding to the two states of circular polarization, and can be demonstrated to be equivalent to a combination of polarization multiplexing and phase shifting. OAM on the other hand relies on an extended beam of light, and the higher quantum degrees of freedom which come with the extension. OAM multiplexing can thus access a potentially unbounded set of states, and as such offer a much larger number of channels, subject only to the constraints of real-world optics.

As of 2013, although OAM multiplexing promises very significant improvements in bandwidth when used in concert with other existing modulation and multiplexing schemes, it is still an experimental technique, and has so far only been demonstrated in the laboratory. Following the early claim that OAM exploits a new quantum mode of information propagation, the technique has become controversial; however nowadays it can be understood to be a particular form of tightly modulated MIMO multiplexing strategy, obeying classical information theoretic bounds.

Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access

Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) is a multi-user version of the popular orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) digital modulation scheme. Multiple access is achieved in OFDMA by assigning subsets of subcarriers to individual users. This allows simultaneous low-data-rate transmission from several users.

Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing

In telecommunications, orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) is a method of encoding digital data on multiple carrier frequencies. OFDM has developed into a popular scheme for wideband digital communication, used in applications such as digital television and audio broadcasting, DSL internet access, wireless networks, power line networks, and 4G mobile communications.

In coded orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (COFDM), forward error correction (convolutional coding) and time/frequency interleaving are applied to the signal being transmitted. This is done to overcome errors in mobile communication channels affected by multipath propagation and Doppler effects. COFDM was introduced by Alard in 1986 for Digital Audio Broadcasting for Eureka Project 147. In practice, OFDM has become used in combination with such coding and interleaving, so that the terms COFDM and OFDM co-apply to common applications. OFDM is a frequency-division multiplexing (FDM) scheme used as a digital multi-carrier modulation method. OFDM was introduced by Chang of Bell Labs in 1966. Numerous closely spaced orthogonal sub-carrier signals with overlapping spectra are emitted to carry data. Demodulation is based on Fast Fourier Transform algorithms. OFDM was improved by Weinstein and Ebert in 1971 with the introduction of a guard interval, providing better orthogonality in transmission channels affected by multipath propagation. Each sub-carrier (signal) is modulated with a conventional modulation scheme (such as quadrature amplitude modulation or phase-shift keying) at a low symbol rate. This maintains total data rates similar to conventional single-carrier modulation schemes in the same bandwidth.

The main advantage of OFDM over single-carrier schemes is its ability to cope with severe channel conditions (for example, attenuation of high frequencies in a long copper wire, narrowband interference and frequency-selective fading due to multipath) without complex equalization filters. Channel equalization is simplified because OFDM may be viewed as using many slowly modulated narrowband signals rather than one rapidly modulated wideband signal. The low symbol rate makes the use of a guard interval between symbols affordable, making it possible to eliminate intersymbol interference (ISI) and use echoes and time-spreading (in analog television visible as ghosting and blurring, respectively) to achieve a diversity gain, i.e. a signal-to-noise ratio improvement. This mechanism also facilitates the design of single frequency networks (SFNs) where several adjacent transmitters send the same signal simultaneously at the same frequency, as the signals from multiple distant transmitters may be re-combined constructively, sparing interference of a traditional single-carrier system.

Polarization-division multiplexing

Polarization-division multiplexing (PDM) is a physical layer method for multiplexing signals carried on electromagnetic waves, allowing two channels of information to be transmitted on the same carrier frequency by using waves of two orthogonal polarization states. It is used in microwave links such as satellite television downlinks to double the bandwidth by using two orthogonally polarized feed antennas in satellite dishes. It is also used in fiber optic communication by transmitting separate left and right circularly polarized light beams through the same optical fiber.

Spatial multiplexing

Spatial multiplexing (often abbreviated SM or SMX) is a transmission technique in MIMO wireless communication, Fibre-optic communication and other communications technologies to transmit independent and separately encoded data signals, known as "streams". Therefore, the space dimension is reused, or multiplexed, more than one time.

Spread spectrum

In telecommunication and radio communication, spread-spectrum techniques are methods by which a signal (e.g., an electrical, electromagnetic, or acoustic signal) generated with a particular bandwidth is deliberately spread in the frequency domain, resulting in a signal with a wider bandwidth. These techniques are used for a variety of reasons, including the establishment of secure communications, increasing resistance to natural interference, noise and jamming, to prevent detection, and to limit power flux density (e.g., in satellite down links).

Statistical time-division multiplexing

Statistical multiplexing is a type of communication link sharing, very similar to dynamic bandwidth allocation (DBA). In statistical multiplexing, a communication channel is divided into an arbitrary number of variable bitrate digital channels or data streams. The link sharing is adapted to the instantaneous traffic demands of the data streams that are transferred over each channel. This is an alternative to creating a fixed sharing of a link, such as in general time division multiplexing (TDM) and frequency division multiplexing (FDM). When performed correctly, statistical multiplexing can provide a link utilization improvement, called the statistical multiplexing gain.

Statistical multiplexing is facilitated through packet mode or packet-oriented communication, which among others is utilized in packet switched computer networks. Each stream is divided into packets that normally are delivered asynchronously in a first-come first-served fashion. In alternative fashion, the packets may be delivered according to some scheduling discipline for fair queuing or differentiated and/or guaranteed quality of service.

Statistical multiplexing of an analog channel, for example a wireless channel, is also facilitated through the following schemes:

Random frequency-hopping orthogonal frequency division multiple access (RFH-OFDMA)

Code-division multiple access (CDMA), where different amount of spreading codes or spreading factors can be assigned to different users.Statistical multiplexing normally implies "on-demand" service rather than one that preallocates resources for each data stream. Statistical multiplexing schemes do not control user data transmissions.

Time-division multiplexing

Time-division multiplexing (TDM) is a method of transmitting and receiving independent signals over a common signal path by means of synchronized switches at each end of the transmission line so that each signal appears on the line only a fraction of time in an alternating pattern. It is used when the bit rate of the transmission medium exceeds that of the signal to be transmitted. This form of signal multiplexing was developed in telecommunications for telegraphy systems in the late 19th century, but found its most common application in digital telephony in the second half of the 20th century.

Wavelength-division multiplexing

In fiber-optic communications, wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) is a technology which multiplexes a number of optical carrier signals onto a single optical fiber by using different wavelengths (i.e., colors) of laser light. This technique enables bidirectional communications over one strand of fiber, as well as multiplication of capacity.

The term wavelength-division multiplexing is commonly applied to an optical carrier, which is typically described by its wavelength, whereas frequency-division multiplexing typically applies to a radio carrier which is more often described by frequency. This is purely conventional because wavelength and frequency communicate the same information.

Network topology
and switching

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