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Cable television
Cable television
is a system of delivering television programming to paying subscribers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulses through fiber-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcast television, in which the television signal is transmitted over the air by radio waves and received by a television antenna attached to the television; or satellite television, in which the television signal is bounced off of the Earth's firmament and received by a satellite dish on the roof. FM radio
FM radio
programming, high-speed Internet, telephone services, and similar non-television services may also be provided through these cables. Analog television
Analog television
was standard in the 20th century, but since the 2000s, cable systems have been upgraded to digital cable operation. A "cable channel" (sometimes known as a "cable network") is a television network available via cable television. When available through satellite television, including direct broadcast satellite providers such as DirecTV, Dish Network
Dish Network
and BSkyB, as well as via IPTV providers such as Verizon FIOS
Verizon FIOS
and AT&T U-verse is referred to as a "satellite channel". Alternative terms include "non-broadcast channel" or "programming service", the latter being mainly used in legal contexts. Examples of cable/satellite channels/cable networks available in many countries are HBO, MTV, Cartoon Network, E!, Eurosport
Eurosport
and CNN International. The abbreviation CATV is often used for cable television. It originally stood for Community Access Television
Television
or Community Antenna Television, from cable television's origins in 1948. In areas where over-the-air TV reception was limited by distance from transmitters or mountainous terrain, large "community antennas" were constructed, and cable was run from them to individual homes. The origins of cable broadcasting for radio are even older as radio programming was distributed by cable in some European cities as far back as 1924.[citation needed]

Contents

1 History in North America 2 Distribution 3 Principle of operation

3.1 Hybrid fiber-coaxial

4 Deployments by continent 5 Other cable-based services 6 Cognitive effects 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

History in North America[edit]

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Further information: Cable television
Cable television
in the United States Cable television
Cable television
began in the United States as a commercial business in 1950, although there were small-scale systems by hobbyists in the 1940s. The early systems simply received weak (broadcast) channels, amplified them, and sent them over unshielded wires to the subscribers, limited to a community or to adjacent communities. The receiving antenna would be higher than any individual subscriber could afford, thus bringing in stronger signals; in hilly or mountainous terrain it would be placed at a high elevation. At the outset, cable systems only served smaller communities without television stations of their own, and which could not easily receive signals from stations in cities because of distance or hilly terrain. In Canada, however, communities with their own signals were fertile cable markets, as viewers wanted to receive American signals. Rarely, as in the college town of Alfred, New York, U.S. cable systems retransmitted Canadian channels. Although early (VHF) television receivers could receive 12 channels (2-13), the maximum number of channels that could be broadcast in one city was 7: channels 2, 4, either 5 or 6, 7, 9, 11 and 13, as receivers at the time were unable to receive strong (local) signals on adjacent channels without distortion. (There were frequency gaps between 4 and 5, and between 6 and 7, which allowed both to be used in the same city.) As equipment improved, all twelve channels could be utilized, except where a local VHF
VHF
television station broadcast. Local broadcast channels were not usable for signals deemed to be priority, but technology allowed low-priority signals to be placed on such channels by synchronizing their blanking intervals. Similarly, a local VHF station could not be carried on its broadcast channel as the signals would arrive at the TV set slightly separated in time, causing "ghosting".[citation needed] The bandwidth of the amplifiers also was limited, meaning frequencies over 250 MHz were difficult to transmit to distant portions of the coaxial network, and UHF channels could not be used at all. To expand beyond 12 channels, non-standard "midband" channels had to be used, located between the FM band and Channel 7, or "superband" beyond Channel 13 up to about 300 MHz; these channels initially were only accessible using separate tuner boxes that sent the chosen channel into the TV set on Channel 2, 3 or 4.[citation needed] Before being added to the cable box itself, these midband channels were used for early incarnations of pay TV, e.g. The Z Channel
Z Channel
(Los Angeles) and HBO
HBO
but transmitted in the clear i.e. not scrambled as standard TV sets of the period could not pick up the signal nor could the average consumer `de-tune' the normal stations to be able to receive it. Once tuners that could receive select mid-band and super-band channels began to be incorporated into standard television sets, broadcasters were forced to either install scrambling circuitry or move these signals further out of the range of reception for early cable-ready TVs and VCRs. However, once all 181 allocated cable channels[which?] had been incorporated, premium broadcasters were left with no choice but to scramble. Unfortunately for pay-TV operators, the descrambling circuitry was often published in electronics hobby magazines such as Popular Science and Popular Electronics
Popular Electronics
allowing anybody with anything more than a rudimentary knowledge of broadcast electronics to be able to build their own and receive the programming without cost. Later, the cable operators began to carry FM radio
FM radio
stations, and encouraged subscribers to connect their FM stereo sets to cable. Before stereo and bilingual TV sound became common, Pay-TV channel sound was added to the FM stereo cable line-ups. About this time, operators expanded beyond the 12-channel dial to use the "midband" and "superband" VHF
VHF
channels adjacent to the "high band" 7-13 of North American television frequencies. Some operators as in Cornwall, Ontario, used a dual distribution network with Channels 2-13 on each of the two cables. During the 1980s, United States regulations not unlike public, educational, and government access (PEG) created the beginning of cable-originated live television programming. As cable penetration increased, numerous cable-only TV stations were launched, many with their own news bureaus that could provide more immediate and more localized content than that provided by the nearest network newscast. Such stations may use similar on-air branding as that used by the nearby broadcast network affiliate, but the fact that these stations do not broadcast over the air and are not regulated by the FCC, their call signs are meaningless. These stations evolved partially into today's over-the-air digital subchannels, where a main broadcast TV station e.g. NBS 37* would – in the case of no local CNB or ABS station being available – rebroadcast the programming from a nearby affiliate but fill in with its own news and other community programming to suit its own locale. Many live local programs with local interests were subsequently created all over the United States in most major television markets in the early 1980s. This evolved into today's many cable-only broadcasts of diverse programming, including cable-only produced television movies and miniseries. Cable specialty channels, starting with channels oriented to show movies and large sporting or performance events, diversified further, and "narrowcasting" became common. By the late 1980s, cable-only signals outnumbered broadcast signals on cable systems, some of which by this time had expanded beyond 35 channels. By the mid-1980s in Canada, cable operators were allowed by the regulator to enter into distribution contracts with cable networks on their own. By the 1990s, tiers became common, with customers able to subscribe to different tiers to obtain different selections of additional channels above the basic selection. By subscribing to additional tiers, customers could get specialty channels, movie channels, and foreign channels. Large cable companies used addressable descramblers to limit access to premium channels for customers not subscribing to higher tiers, however the above magazines often published workarounds for that technology as well. During the 1990s, the pressure to accommodate the growing array of offerings resulted in digital transmission that made more efficient use of the VHF
VHF
signal capacity; fibre optics was common to carry signals into areas near the home, where coax could carry higher frequencies over the short remaining distance. Although for a time in the 1980s and 1990s, television receivers and VCRs were equipped to receive the mid-band and super-band channels. Due to the fact that the descrambling circuitry was for a time present in these tuners, depriving the cable operator of much of their revenue, such cable-ready tuners are rarely used now - requiring a return to the set-top boxes used from the 1970s onward. The conversion to digital broadcasting has put all signals - broadcast and cable - into digital form, rendering analog cable television service mostly obsolete, functional in an ever-dwindling supply of select markets. Analog television
Analog television
sets are still[when?] accommodated, but their tuners are mostly obsolete, oftentimes dependent entirely on the set-top box. Distribution[edit]

A cable television distribution box (left) in the basement of a building in Germany, with a splitter (right) which supplies the signal to separate cables which go to different rooms

To receive cable television at a given location, cable distribution lines must be available on the local utility poles or underground utility lines. Coaxial cable
Coaxial cable
brings the signal to the customer's building through a service drop, an overhead or underground cable. If the subscriber's building does not have a cable service drop, the cable company will install one. The standard cable used in the U.S. is RG-6, which has a 75 ohm impedance, and connects with a type F connector. The cable company's portion of the wiring usually ends at a distribution box on the building exterior, and built-in cable wiring in the walls usually distributes the signal to jacks in different rooms to which televisions are connected. Multiple cables to different rooms are split off the incoming cable with a small device called a splitter. There are two standards for cable television; older analog cable, and newer digital cable which can carry data signals used by digital television receivers such as HDTV equipment. All cable companies in the United States have switched to or are in the course of switching to digital cable television since it was first introduced in the late 1990s. Most cable companies require a set-top box to view their cable channels, even on newer televisions with digital cable QAM tuners, because most digital cable channels are now encrypted, or "scrambled", to reduce cable service theft. A cable from the jack in the wall is attached to the input of the box, and an output cable from the box is attached to the television, usually the RF-IN or composite input on older TVs. Since the set-top box only decodes the single channel that is being watched, each television in the house requires a separate box. Some unencrypted channels, usually traditional over-the-air broadcast networks, can be displayed without a receiver box.[1] The cable company will provide set top boxes based on the level of service a customer purchases, from basic set top boxes with a standard definition picture connected through the standard coaxial connection on the TV, to high-definition wireless DVR receivers connected via HDMI
HDMI
or component. Older analog television sets are "cable ready" and can receive the old analog cable without a set-top box. To receive digital cable channels on an analog television set, even unencrypted ones, requires a different type of box, a digital television adapter supplied by the cable company. A new distribution method that takes advantage of the low cost high quality DVB distribution to residential areas, uses TV gateways to convert the DVB-C, DVB-C2
DVB-C2
stream to IP for distribution of TV over IP network in the home. Principle of operation[edit]

Diagram of a modern hybrid fiber-coaxial cable television system. At the regional headend, the TV channels are sent multiplexed on a light beam which travels through optical fiber trunklines, which fan out from distribution hubs to optical nodes in local communities. Here the light signal from the fiber is translated to a radio frequency electrical signal, which is distributed through coaxial cable to individual subscriber homes.

In the most common system, multiple television channels (as many as 500, although this varies depending on the provider's available channel capacity) are distributed to subscriber residences through a coaxial cable, which comes from a trunkline supported on utility poles originating at the cable company's local distribution facility, called the "headend". Many channels can be transmitted through one coaxial cable by a technique called frequency division multiplexing. At the headend, each television channel is translated to a different frequency. By giving each channel a different frequency "slot" on the cable, the separate television signals do not interfere with each other. At an outdoor cable box on the subscriber's residence the company's service drop cable is connected to cables distributing the signal to different rooms in the building. At each television, the subscriber's television or a set-top box provided by the cable company translates the desired channel back to its original frequency (baseband), and it is displayed onscreen. Due to widespread cable theft in earlier analog systems, the signals are typically encrypted on modern digital cable systems, and the set-top box must be activated by an activation code sent by the cable company before it will function, which is only sent after the subscriber signs up. If the subscriber fails to pay his bill, the cable company can send a signal to deactivate the subscriber's box, preventing reception. There are also usually "upstream" channels on the cable to send data from the customer box to the cable headend, for advanced features such as requesting pay-per-view shows or movies, cable internet access, and cable telephone service. The "downstream" channels occupy a band of frequencies from approximately 50 MHz to 1 GHz, while the "upstream" channels occupy frequencies of 5 to 42 MHz. Subscribers pay with a monthly fee. Subscribers can choose from several levels of service, with "premium" packages including more channels but costing a higher rate. At the local headend, the feed signals from the individual television channels are received by dish antennas from communication satellites. Additional local channels, such as local broadcast television stations, educational channels from local colleges, and community access channels devoted to local governments (PEG channels) are usually included on the cable service. Commercial advertisements for local business are also inserted in the programming at the headend (the individual channels, which are distributed nationally, also have their own nationally oriented commercials). Hybrid fiber-coaxial[edit] Main article: Hybrid fibre-coaxial Modern cable systems are large, with a single network and headend often serving an entire metropolitan area. Most systems use hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) distribution; this means the trunklines that carry the signal from the headend to local neighborhoods are optical fiber to provide greater bandwidth and also extra capacity for future expansion. At the headend, the radio frequency electrical signal carrying all the channels is modulated on a light beam and sent through the fiber. The fiber trunkline goes to several distribution hubs, from which multiple fibers fan out to carry the signal to boxes called optical nodes in local communities. At the optical node, the light beam from the fiber is translated back to an electrical signal and carried by coaxial cable distribution lines on utility poles, from which cables branch out to a series of signal amplifiers and line extenders. These devices carry the signal to customers via passive RF devices called taps. Deployments by continent[edit] Main article: Cable television
Cable television
by region Cable television
Cable television
is mostly available in North America, Europe, Australia
Australia
and East Asia, and less so in South America
South America
and the Middle East. Cable television
Cable television
has had little success in Africa, as it is not cost-effective to lay cables in sparsely populated areas. So-called "wireless cable" or microwave-based systems are used instead. Other cable-based services[edit] Coaxial cables are capable of bi-directional carriage of signals as well as the transmission of large amounts of data. Cable television signals use only a portion of the bandwidth available over coaxial lines. This leaves plenty of space available for other digital services such as cable internet, cable telephony and wireless services, using both unlicensed and licensed spectrum. Broadband internet access is achieved over coaxial cable by using cable modems to convert the network data into a type of digital signal that can be transferred over coaxial cable. One problem with some cable systems is the older amplifiers placed along the cable routes are unidirectional thus in order to allow for uploading of data the customer would need to use an analog telephone modem to provide for the upstream connection. This limited the upstream speed to 31.2k and prevented the always-on convenience broadband internet typically provides. Many large cable systems have upgraded or are upgrading their equipment to allow for bi-directional signals, thus allowing for greater upload speed and always-on convenience, though these upgrades are expensive. In North America, Australia
Australia
and Europe, many cable operators have already introduced cable telephone service, which operates just like existing fixed line operators. This service involves installing a special telephone interface at the customer's premises that converts the analog signals from the customer's in-home wiring into a digital signal, which is then sent on the local loop (replacing the analog last mile, or plain old telephone service (POTS)) to the company's switching center, where it is connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The biggest obstacle to cable telephone service is the need for nearly 100% reliable service for emergency calls. One of the standards available for digital cable telephony, PacketCable, seems to be the most promising and able to work with the quality of service (QOS) demands of traditional analog plain old telephone service (POTS) service. The biggest advantage to digital cable telephone service is similar to the advantage of digital cable, namely that data can be compressed, resulting in much less bandwidth used than a dedicated analog circuit-switched service. Other advantages include better voice quality and integration to a Voice over Internet Protocol
Internet Protocol
(VoIP) network providing cheap or unlimited nationwide and international calling. In many cases, digital cable telephone service is separate from cable modem service being offered by many cable companies and does not rely on Internet Protocol
Internet Protocol
(IP) traffic or the Internet. Traditional cable television providers and traditional telecommunication companies increasingly compete in providing voice, video and data services to residences. The combination of television, telephone and Internet
Internet
access is commonly called "triple play", regardless of whether CATV or telcos offer it. Cognitive effects[edit] A 2017 study in The Journal of Human Resources found that exposure to cable television reduced cognitive ability and high school graduation rates for boys. This effect was stronger for boys from more educated families. The article suggests a mechanism where light television entertainment crowds out more cognitively stimulating activities.[2] See also[edit]

AllVid CableCARD DOCSIS DVB-C European cable television frequencies Multichannel video programming distributor North American television frequencies Private cable operator QAM (television) Satellite television Switched video Tru2way

References[edit]

^ "ClearQAM – What It Is And Why It Matters". Retrieved 19 June 2015.  ^ Hernæs, Ø., Markussen, S., Røed, K. 2017. Television, Cognitive Ability, and High School Completion. J. Human Resources. doi: 10.3368/jhr.54.2.0316.7819R1. http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/early/2017/10/02/jhr.54.2.0316.7819R1.abstract

Further reading[edit]

The history of Rediffusion by Gerald K Clode Eisenmann, Thomas R., "Cable TV: From Community Antennas to Wired Cities", Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School
Weekly Newsletter, July 10, 2000 Moss, Mitchell L.; Payne, Frances, "Can Cable Keep Its Promise?", New York Affairs, Volume 6, Number 4. New York University. 1981 Smith, Ralph Lee, "The Wired Nation", The Nation
The Nation
magazine, May 18, 1970 Smith, Ralph Lee, The Wired Nation; Cable TV: the electronic communications highway. New York, Harper & Row, 1972. ISBN 0-06-090243-4 Herrick, Dennis F. (2012). Media Management in the Age of Giants: Business Dynamics of Journalism. UNM Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-5163-0. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cable television.

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ABS-CBN TV Plus Freeview (Australia) Freeview (New Zealand) Igloo(New Zealand) MYTV(Malaysia) StarTimes

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Major1

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Cablevision
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Cogeco
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Defunct cable and DBS companies of Canada

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Fibe(Aliant) Fibe TV(ON/QC) MTS TV(MB)

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(Netherlands)

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A1 Telekom Austria Altibox Amis Beeline Bouygues Telecom BT TV (UK) Bulsatcom
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Terrestrial

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PlusTV
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Saorview
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Defunct

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Cable

Axtel TV (Mexico) Airlink Communications (Trinidad and Tobago) Cablecom (Mexico) Cablemás
Cablemás
(Mexico) Cable Onda Cablevisión (Argentina) CaboTelecom Claro Colombia Digicel Play
Digicel Play
(Caribbean) Columbus/FLOW (Caribbean) Independent Cable Network of Trinidad and Tobago (ICNTT) Izzi Telecom (Mexico) Massy Communications (Trinidad and Tobago) Mayaro Cable TV (Trinidad and Tobago) Megacable (Mexico) Movistar TV (Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela) Mundo Pacifico (Chile) NET (Brazil) Oi TV (Brazil) Red Intercable (Argentina) RVR International (Trinidad and Tobago) Telefónica del Sur Tricom (Dominican Republic) TRICO Industries Limited (Trinidad and Tobago) Une (Colombia) VTR (Chile)

Satellite

CanalSat Caraïbes (Caribbean) CANTV (Venezuela) Claro TV DirecTV
DirecTV
( South America
South America
& Caribbean) Dish México Entel (Chile) Green Dot (Caribbean) Inter Satélital Movistar TV (Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela) Oi TV (Brazil) SKY Brasil SKY México, Dominican Republic & Central America Vivo TV (Brazil)

Fiber/IPTV

bmobile (Trinidad and Tobago) Claro República Dominicana Vivo TV
Vivo TV
(Brazil)

Terrestrial microwave

Multi-Choice TV (Barbados)

Defunct satellite

DirecTV
DirecTV
Brazil DirecTV
DirecTV
Mexico GVT TV
GVT TV
(Brazil) Sky Argentina Sky Chile Sky Colombia Sky Ecuador Sky Peru Sky Venezuela

Defunct cable

Vivo TV
Vivo TV
Plus (Brazil)

Africa, Asia, and Oceania Americas Canada Europe United States

v t e

Cable, satellite, and other specialty television providers in the United States

Cable MVPD

Adams Cable Altice USA

Optimum Suddenlink Communications

Armstrong Atlantic Broadband AT&T Alascom Blue Ridge Communications Blue Stream Broadstripe Buckeye Broadband Cable One Charter Spectrum Comcast Xfinity Comtech21 Consolidated Communications

FairPoint Communications

Cox Communications Deltacom DoCoMo Pacific Emery Telcom Full Channel GCI Hargray Hood Canal Communications Mediacom Midco Northlake Telecom Northland Communications Liberty Puerto Rico Ritter Communications Santel Communications Satview Broadband Service Electric Shentel SRT Communications TDS Telecom TPG

Grande Communications RCN Corporation Wave Broadband

Troy Cablevision TruVista Communications WOW! ZTelco

Satellite MVPD

Claro Dish Network DirecTV Glorystar Headend in the Sky Home2US

Fiber MVPD / IPTV

AT&T U-verse CenturyLink
CenturyLink
Prism TV Cincinnati Bell
Cincinnati Bell
FiOptics Claro Consolidated Communications

FairPoint Communications

EPB Frontier FiOS Google Fiber GTA Teleguam Hawaiian Telcom Midco NEP Datastream TV North State Communications Smithville Fiber Sonic.net TDS Telecom Verizon FiOS Whidbey Telecom Windstream Kinetic

Virtual MVPD

DirecTV
DirecTV
Now FuboTV Hulu
Hulu
with Live TV Philo PlayStation Vue Sling TV Spectrum TV Stream Xfinity
Xfinity
Instant TV YouTube TV

Over-the-top

Amazon Video Anime Network Apple iTunes Store CBS All Access Crackle Crunchyroll CW Seed CuriosityStream DramaFever Fandor FunimationNow go90 Hallmark Movies Now HBO
HBO
Now History Vault Hulu iON (IPTV) Lifetime Movie Club Netflix Noggin Pluto TV Roku Seeso Showtime Starz Tribeca Shortlist Tubi TV UFC Fight Pass Univision
Univision
NOW YuppTV WWE Network

Defunct cable

Adelphia Communications Corporation Alameda Power and Telecom1 Astound Broadband AT&T Broadband

MediaOne/Continental Cablevision Tele-Communications Inc.

Baja Broadband

US Cable

Bresnan Communications Bright House Networks Cablevision Champion Broadband Cobridge Communications Community Home Entertainment Graceba Total Communications Insight Communications Jones Intercable King Videocable Knology Marcus Cable NPG Cable Paragon Cable Rapid Communications TelePrompTer/Group W Cable Time Warner Cable UA-Columbia Cablevision Windjammer Communications

1 – Still in operation, but no longer offers cable or Internet
Internet
as part of its services

Defunct satellite

AlphaStar GlobeCast World TV PrimeStar United States Satellite Broadcasting Voom HD Networks

Defunct IPTV

Sky Angel Virtual Digital Cable

Defunct terrestrial

Aereo USDTV MovieBeam

Defunct virtual MVPD

CenturyLink
CenturyLink
Stream

v t e

Additional resources on North American television

North America

List of local television stations in North America DTV transition North American TV mini-template

Canada

Canadian networks List of Canadian television networks List of Canadian television channels List of Canadian specialty channels Local Canadian TV stations List of United States stations available in Canada 2001 Vancouver TV realignment 2007 Canada broadcast TV realignment

Mexico

Mexican networks Local Mexican TV stations

United States

American networks List of American cable and satellite networks List of American over-the-air networks Local American TV stations (W) Local American TV stations (K) Spanish-language TV networks 1994 United States broadcast TV realignment 2006 United States broadcast TV realignment List of Canadian television stations available in the United States Insular Areas TV

Africa, Asia, Middle East
Middle East
and Oceania Americas Europe

v t e

Telecommunications

History

Beacon Broadcasting Cable protection system Cable TV Communications satellite Computer network Drums Electrical telegraph Fax Heliographs Hydraulic telegraph Internet Mass media Mobile phone Optical telecommunication Optical telegraphy Pager Photophone Prepay mobile phone Radio Radiotelephone Satellite communications Semaphore Smartphone Smoke signals Telecommunications history Telautograph Telegraphy Teleprinter
Teleprinter
(teletype) Telephone The Telephone
Telephone
Cases Television Timeline of communication technology Undersea telegraph line Videoconferencing Videophone Videotelephony Whistled language

Pioneers

Edwin Howard Armstrong John Logie Baird Paul Baran Alexander Graham Bell Tim Berners-Lee Jagadish Chandra Bose Vint Cerf Claude Chappe Donald Davies Lee de Forest Philo Farnsworth Reginald Fessenden Elisha Gray Erna Schneider Hoover Charles K. Kao Hedy Lamarr Innocenzo Manzetti Guglielmo Marconi Antonio Meucci Radia Perlman Alexander Stepanovich Popov Johann Philipp Reis Nikola Tesla Camille Tissot Alfred Vail Charles Wheatstone Vladimir K. Zworykin

Transmission media

Coaxial cable Fiber-optic communication

Optical fiber

Free-space optical communication Molecular communication Radio
Radio
waves Transmission line

Network topology and switching

Links Nodes Terminal node Network switching (circuit packet) Telephone
Telephone
exchange

Multiplexing

Space-division Frequency-division Time-division Polarization-division Orbital angular-momentum Code-division

Networks

ARPANET BITNET Cellular network Computer CYCLADES Ethernet FidoNet Internet ISDN LAN Mobile NGN NPL network Public Switched Telephone Radio Telecommunications equipment Television Telex WAN Wireless World Wide Web

Category Portal

Authority control

GND: 4029109-1 N

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