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.
In computing, I/O multiplexing can also be used to refer to the concept of processing multiple input/output events from a single event loop, with system calls like polland select (Unix).
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.
In wired communication, space-division multiplexing, also known as space-division multiple access (SDMA) 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 (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.
A variant technology, called wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) is used in optical communications.
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.Some web proxy servers (e.g. polipo) use TDM in HTTP pipelining of multiple HTTP transactions onto the same TCP/IP connection.
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 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 is a relatively new and experimental technique for multiplexing multiple channels of signals carried using electromagnetic radiation over a single path. As of 2012 [update] 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. 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.It can potentially be used in addition to other physical multiplexing methods to greatly expand the transmission capacity of such systems.
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).
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.[ citation needed ]
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.
Émile Baudot developed a time-multiplexing system of multiple Hughes machines in the 1870s. In 1874, the quadruplex telegraph developed by Thomas Edison transmitted two messages in each direction simultaneously, for a total of four messages transiting the same wire at the same time. Several researchers were investigating acoustic telegraphy, a frequency-division multiplexing technique, which led to the invention of the telephone.
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.[ citation needed ]
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.
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.
In digital television systems, several variable bit-rate data streams are multiplexed together to a fixed bit rate 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.[ citation needed ]
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.
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.[ citation needed ]
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.
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).
Some electrical multiplexing techniques do not require a physical "multiplexer" device, they refer to a "keyboard matrix" or "Charlieplexing" design style:
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.
In electronics and telecommunications, modulation is the process of varying one or more properties of a periodic waveform, called the carrier signal, with a separate signal called the modulation signal that typically contains information to be transmitted. For example, the modulation signal might be an audio signal representing sound from a microphone, a video signal representing moving images from a video camera, or a digital signal representing a sequence of binary digits, a bitstream from a computer. The carrier is higher in frequency than the modulation signal. The purpose of modulation is to impress the information on the carrier wave, which is used to carry the information to another location. In radio communication the modulated carrier is transmitted through space as a radio wave to a radio receiver. Another purpose is to transmit multiple channels of information through a single communication medium, using frequency division multiplexing (FDM). For example in cable television which uses FDM, many carrier signals carrying different television channels are transported through a single cable to customers. Since each carrier occupies a different frequency, the channels do not interfere with each other. At the destination end, the carrier signal is demodulated to extract the information bearing modulation signal.
In telecommunications, orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) is a type of digital transmission and 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/5G mobile communications.
Baseband is a signal that has a near-zero frequency range from close to zero hertz up to a higher cut-off frequency. An example of a baseband signal would be the audio signal output of a microphone, or a single musical note or synthesized tone.
A carrier system is a telecommunications system that transmits information, such as the voice signals of a telephone call and the video signals of television, by modulation of one or multiple carrier signals above the principal voice frequency or data rate.
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. This method transmits two or more digital signals or analog signals over a common channel. It can be 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.
Data transmission and data reception is the transfer and reception of data over a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communication channel. Examples of such channels are copper wires, optical fibers, wireless communication channels, storage media and computer buses. The data are represented as an electromagnetic signal, such as an electrical voltage, radiowave, microwave, or infrared signal.
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.
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.
In telecommunications, a carrier wave, carrier signal, or just carrier, is a waveform that is modulated (modified) with an information-bearing signal for the purpose of conveying information. This carrier wave usually has a much higher frequency than the input signal does. The purpose of the carrier is usually either to transmit the information through space as an electromagnetic wave, or to allow several carriers at different frequencies to share a common physical transmission medium by frequency division multiplexing. The term originated in radio communication, where the carrier wave creates the waves which carry the information (modulation) through the air from the transmitter to the receiver. The term is also used for an unmodulated emission in the absence of any modulating signal.
A communication channel refers either to a physical transmission medium such as a wire, or to a logical connection over a multiplexed medium such as a radio channel in telecommunications and computer networking. A channel is used to convey an information signal, for example a digital bit stream, from one or several senders to one or several receivers. A channel has a certain capacity for transmitting information, often measured by its bandwidth in Hz or its data rate in bits per second.
A satellite modem or satmodem is a modem used to establish data transfers using a communications satellite as a relay. A satellite modem's main function is to transform an input bitstream to a radio signal and vice versa.
Frequency-division multiple access (FDMA) is a channel access method used in some multiple-access protocols. FDMA allows multiple users to send data through a single communication channel, such as a coaxial cable or microwave beam, by dividing the bandwidth of the channel into separate non-overlapping frequency sub-channels and allocating each sub-channel to a separate user. Users can send data through a subchannel by modulating it on a carrier wave at the subchannel's frequency. It is used in satellite communication systems and telephone trunklines.
DVB-T, short for Digital Video Broadcasting — Terrestrial, is the DVB European-based consortium standard for the broadcast transmission of digital terrestrial television that was first published in 1997 and first broadcast in Singapore in February, 1998. This system transmits compressed digital audio, digital video and other data in an MPEG transport stream, using coded orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing modulation. It is also the format widely used worldwide for Electronic News Gathering for transmission of video and audio from a mobile newsgathering vehicle to a central receive point. It is also used in the US by Amateur television operators.
A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the link to and from end nodes is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called "cells", each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver. These base stations provide the cell with the network coverage which can be used for transmission of voice, data, and other types of content. A cell typically uses a different set of frequencies from neighboring cells, to avoid interference and provide guaranteed service quality within each cell.
Spectral efficiency, spectrum efficiency or bandwidth efficiency refers to the information rate that can be transmitted over a given bandwidth in a specific communication system. It is a measure of how efficiently a limited frequency spectrum is utilized by the physical layer protocol, and sometimes by the medium access control.
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.
Spatial multiplexing or space-division multiplexing is a multiplexing technique in MIMO wireless communication, fibre-optic communication and other communications technologies used to transmit independent channels separated in space. Other multiplexing techniques include FDM, TDM or PDM.
The pulse-code modulation (PCM) technology was patented and developed in France in 1938, but could not be used because suitable technology was not available until World War II. This came about with the arrival of digital systems in the 1960s, when improving the performance of communications networks became a real possibility. However, this technology was not completely adopted until the mid-1970s, due to the large amount of analog systems already in place and the high cost of digital systems, as semiconductors were very expensive. PCM’s initial goal was that of converting an analog voice telephone channel into a digital one based on the sampling theorem.
Pulse-code modulation (PCM) is a method used to digitally represent sampled analog signals. It is the standard form of digital audio in computers, compact discs, digital telephony and other digital audio applications. In a PCM stream, the amplitude of the analog signal is sampled regularly at uniform intervals, and each sample is quantized to the nearest value within a range of digital steps.
Multiple-input, multiple-output orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (MIMO-OFDM) is the dominant air interface for 4G and 5G broadband wireless communications. It combines multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology, which multiplies capacity by transmitting different signals over multiple antennas, and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), which divides a radio channel into a large number of closely spaced subchannels to provide more reliable communications at high speeds. Research conducted during the mid-1990s showed that while MIMO can be used with other popular air interfaces such as time-division multiple access (TDMA) and code-division multiple access (CDMA), the combination of MIMO and OFDM is most practical at higher data rates.