The Telecommunication Portal

Earth station at the satellite communication facility in Raisting, Bavaria, Germany

Telecommunication 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), Antonio Meucci and Alexander Graham Bell (some of the inventors and developers of the telephone, see Invention 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).

According to Article 1.3 of the Radio Regulations (RR), telecommunication is defined as « Any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems.» This definition is identical to those contained in the Annex to the Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union (Geneva, 1992).

The early telecommunication networks were created with copper wires as the physical medium for signal transmission. For many years, these networks were utilized for basic phone services, namely voice and telegrams. Since the mid-1990s, as the internet has grown in popularity, voice has been gradually supplanted by data. This soon demonstrated the limitations of copper in data transmission, prompting the development of optics. (Full article...)

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A bundle of optical fibers

An optical fiber (or fibre in British English) is a flexible, transparent fiber made by drawing glass (silica) or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair. Optical fibers are used most often as a means to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber and find wide usage in fiber-optic communications, where they permit transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data transfer rates) than electrical cables. Fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals travel along them with less loss; in addition, fibers are immune to electromagnetic interference, a problem from which metal wires suffer. Fibers are also used for illumination and imaging, and are often wrapped in bundles so they may be used to carry light into, or images out of confined spaces, as in the case of a fiberscope. Specially designed fibers are also used for a variety of other applications, some of them being fiber optic sensors and fiber lasers.

Optical fibers typically include a core surrounded by a transparent cladding material with a lower index of refraction. Light is kept in the core by the phenomenon of total internal reflection which causes the fiber to act as a waveguide. Fibers that support many propagation paths or transverse modes are called multi-mode fibers, while those that support a single mode are called single-mode fibers (SMF). Multi-mode fibers generally have a wider core diameter and are used for short-distance communication links and for applications where high power must be transmitted. Single-mode fibers are used for most communication links longer than 1,000 meters (3,300 ft). (Full article...)
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Meucci in 1878

Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci (/mˈi/ may-OO-chee, Italian: [anˈtɔːnjo meˈuttʃi]; 13 April 1808 – 18 October 1889) was an Italian inventor and an associate of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a major political figure in the history of Italy. Meucci is best known for developing a voice-communication apparatus that several sources credit as the first telephone.

Meucci set up a form of voice-communication link in his Staten Island, New York, home that connected the second-floor bedroom to his laboratory. He submitted a patent caveat for his telephonic device to the U.S. Patent Office in 1871, but there was no mention of electromagnetic transmission of vocal sound in his caveat. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the electromagnetic transmission of vocal sound by undulatory electric current. Despite the longstanding general crediting of Bell with the accomplishment, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities supported celebrations of Meucci's 200th birthday in 2008 using the title "Inventore del telefono" (Inventor of the telephone). The U.S. House of Representatives also honored Meucci in a resolution in 2002 for having had some role in the development of the telephone, although the U.S. Senate did not join the resolution and the interpretation of the resolution is disputed. (Full article...)

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.

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