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

Telecommunication is the transmission of signs, signals, messages, words, writings, images and sounds or information of any nature by wire, radio, optical or electromagnetic systems. Telecommunication occurs when the exchange of information between communication participants includes the use of technology. It is transmitted either electrically over physical media, such as cables, or via electromagnetic radiation. Such transmission paths are often divided into communication channels which afford the advantages of multiplexing. Since the Latin term communicatio is considered the social process of information exchange, the term telecommunications is often used in its plural form because it involves many different technologies.

Early means of communicating over a distance included visual signals, such as beacons, smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs. 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, and teleprinter, networks, radio, microwave transmission, fiber optics, 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).

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Electrical engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century with the commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical power supply. The field now covers a range of sub-disciplines including those that deal with power, optoelectronics, digital electronics, analog electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, control systems, electronics, signal processing and telecommunications.

The term electrical engineering may or may not encompass electronic engineering. Where a distinction is made, electrical engineering is considered to deal with the problems associated with large-scale electrical systems such as power transmission and motor control, whereas electronic engineering deals with the study of small-scale electronic systems including computers and integrated circuits.

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Guglielmo Marchese Marconi, GCVO (25 April 1874-20 July 1937) was an Italian inventor, best known for his development of a practical radiotelegraph system, which served as the foundation for the establishment of numerous affiliated companies worldwide. He shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun, "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy". While growing up, Marconi had an intense early interest in science, and was especially fascinated by electricity.

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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