The Telecommunication Portal

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

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 used 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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The Submarine Telegraph Company was a British company which laid and operated submarine telegraph cables.

Jacob and John Watkins Brett formed the English Channel Submarine Telegraph Company to lay the first cable across the English Channel. An unarmoured cable with gutta-percha insulation was laid in 1850. The recently introduced gutta-percha was the first thermoplastic material available to cable makers and was resistant to seawater. This first unarmoured cable was a failure and was soon broken either by a French fishing boat or by abrasion on the rocks off the French coast. (Full article...)
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Edison c. 1922
Edison c. 1922

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices in fields such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording, and motion pictures. These inventions, which include the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and early versions of the electric light bulb, have had a widespread impact on the modern industrialized world. He was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of organized science and teamwork to the process of invention, working with many researchers and employees. He established the first industrial research laboratory.

Edison was raised in the American Midwest. Early in his career he worked as a telegraph operator, which inspired some of his earliest inventions. In 1876, he established his first laboratory facility in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where many of his early inventions were developed. He later established a botanical laboratory in Fort Myers, Florida, in collaboration with businessmen Henry Ford and Harvey S. Firestone, and a laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, that featured the world's first film studio, the Black Maria. With 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as patents in other countries, Edison is regarded as the most prolific inventor in American history. Edison married twice and fathered six children. He died in 1931 of complications of diabetes. (Full article...)

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