Communication channel

Telecommunications symbol
A communication channel or simply 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 (or transmitters) 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.

Communicating data from one location to another requires some form of pathway or medium. These pathways, called communication channels, use two types of media: cable (twisted-pair wire, cable, and fiber-optic cable) and broadcast (microwave, satellite, radio, and infrared). Cable or wire line media use physical wires of cables to transmit data and information. Twisted-pair wire and coaxial cables are made of copper, and fiber-optic cable is made of glass.

In information theory, a channel refers to a theoretical channel model with certain error characteristics. In this more general view, a storage device is also a kind of channel, which can be sent to (written) and received from (reading ).

Examples of communications channels include:

All of these communications channels share the property that they transfer information. The information is carried through the channel by a signal.

A channel can be modelled physically by trying to calculate the physical processes which modify the transmitted signal. For example, in wireless communications the channel can be modelled by calculating the reflection off every object in the environment. A sequence of random numbers might also be added in to simulate external interference and/or electronic noise in the receiver.

This page was last edited on 20 June 2018, at 20:31 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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