Telecommunication, science and practice of transmitting information by electromagnetic means. Modern telecommunication centres on the problems involved in transmitting large volumes of information over long distances without damaging loss due to noise and interference. The basic components of a modern digital telecommunications system must be capable of transmitting voice, data, radio, and television signals.
Digital transmission is employed in order to achieve high reliability and because the cost of digital switching systems is much lower than the cost of analog systems. In order to use digital transmission, however, the analog signals that make up most voice, radio, and television communication must be subjected to a process of analog-to-digital conversion. (In data transmission this step is bypassed because the signals are already in digital form; most television, radio, and voice communication, however, use the analog system and must be digitized.) In many cases, the digitized signal is passed through a source encoder, which employs a number of formulas to reduce redundant binary information. After source encoding, the digitized signal is processed in achannel encoder, which introduces redundant information that allows errors to be detected and corrected. The encoded signal is made suitable fortransmission by modulation onto a carrier wave and may be made part of a larger signal in a process known as multiplexing. The multiplexed signal is then sent into a multiple-access transmission channel. After transmission, the above process is reversed at the receiving end, and the information is extracted.