at the satellite communication facility in Raisting, Bavaria, Germany
Telecommunication (from Latin communicatio, referring to the social process of information exchange, and the Greek prefix tele-, meaning distance) is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that feasible with the human voice, but with a similar scale of expediency; thus, slow systems (such as postal mail) are excluded from the field.
The transmission media in telecommunication have evolved through numerous stages of technology, from beacons and other visual signals (such as smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs), to electrical cable and electromagnetic radiation, including light. Such transmission paths are often divided into communication channels, which afford the advantages of multiplexing multiple concurrent communication sessions. Telecommunication is often used in its plural form, because it involves many different technologies.
Other examples of pre-modern long-distance communication included audio messages, such as coded drumbeats, lung-blown horns, and loud whistles. 20th- and 21st-century technologies for long-distance communication usually involve electrical and electromagnetic technologies, such as telegraph, telephone, television and teleprinter, networks, radio, microwave transmission, optical fiber, and communications satellites.
A revolution in wireless communication began in the first decade of the 20th century with the pioneering developments in radio communications by Guglielmo Marconi, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909, and other notable pioneering inventors and developers in the field of electrical and electronic telecommunications. These included Charles Wheatstone and Samuel Morse (inventors of the telegraph), Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone), Edwin Armstrong and Lee de Forest (inventors of radio), as well as Vladimir K. Zworykin, John Logie Baird and Philo Farnsworth (some of the inventors of television).
In the news
Samuel Finley Breese Morse (27 April 1791 – 2 April 1872) was an American contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs, co-inventor of the Morse code, and a painter of historic scenes.
Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts (now part of Boston), on April 27, 1791, and educated at Yale College (now Yale University). He studied painting in London and became a successful portrait painter and sculptor. In 1825 he helped found the National Academy of Design in New York City, and the following year he became the first president of the institution. He continued his painting and became a professor of painting and sculpture at New York University in 1832. About that time he became interested in chemical and electrical experiments and developed apparatus for an electromagnetic telegraph that he completed in 1836. The following year he filed a caveat, or legal notice, at the patent office in Washington, D.C., and tried without success to obtain European patents for his apparatus. He also invented a code, now known as the Morse code, for use with his telegraph instrument. Several contemporary scientists gave Morse significant financial and technical help with his work on the telegraph and Morse code.
Did you know?
...that Intelsat 1, known as Early Bird, launched in 1965, provided either 240 voice circuits or one two-way television channel between the United States and Europe.
...that the first telephone message was transmitted in 1876 from one room in Alexander Graham Bell’s house to another.
...that in 1880 France rewarded Bell the Volta Prize, worth 50,000 francs, for his invention.