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5/17/2019 What is Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM)?

- Definition from Techopedia

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Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM)


Definition - What does Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM) mean?
Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM) is a networking technique in which multiple data signals
are combined for simultaneous transmission via a shared communication medium. FDM uses a
carrier signal at a discrete frequency for each data stream and then combines many modulated
signals.

When FDM is used to allow multiple users to share a single physical communications medium
(i.e. not broadcast through the air), the technology is called frequency-division multiple access
(FDMA).

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Techopedia explains Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM)


Frequency Division Multiplexing has many applications. Stereo FM transmissions use carrier
signals referred to as subcarriers (a previously modulated signal modulated into another signal
of higher frequency and bandwidth), which differentiates signals to left and right channels, one
for each speaker and sometimes a third, forth and fifth signals for three, four or five speaker
sound systems. Television channel signals are divided up into different subcarrier frequencies for
video, audio and color. And DSL (digital subscriber line) transmissions use different subcarrier
https://www.techopedia.com/definition/7153/frequency-division-multiplexing-fdm 1/4
frequencies
5/17/2019
for voice, upstreamWhat
andis Frequency
downstream data transmissions (frequency duplex,” i.e.
Division Multiplexing (FDM)? - Definition from Techopedia

simultaneous transmissions in both directions); these too are all multiplexed into the same
communications medium.

Twentieth century telephone companies used FDM for long-distance connections to multiplex
thousands of voice signals through co-axial cable systems. This was done in numbers of stages
by utilizing channel banks (a device for multiplexing or demultiplexing groups of channels, i.e.
physical transmission paths). Shorter distance connections used communications mediums
(cables) with less bandwidth, some with only 12, and later 24, voice channels multiplexed using
four wires – a pair for each direction; these were common in households and small businesses.
These signals went through twisted pair telephone lines, i.e. copper wires with insulation twisted
around each other to prevent signals from interfering with each other, known as crosstalk or
more technically, electromagnetic induction. However, near the 21st century use of FDM became
rare and instead it was replace with time-division multiplexing (TDM).

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