Data transmission - Multiplexing

Introduction to multiplexing

Multiplexing refers to the ability to transmit data coming from several pairs of equipment (transmitters and receivers) called low-speed channels on a single physical medium (called the high-speed channel).


A multiplexer is the multiplexing device that combines the signals from the transmitters and sends them over the high-speed channel. A demultiplexer is the multiplexing device via which the receivers are connected to the high-speed channel.

Frequency-division multiplexing

Frequency-division multiplexing, also called FDM, makes it possible to share the available frequency band on the high-speed channel by dividing it into a series of narrower-band channels so as to be able to continuously send signals coming from the different low-speed channels over the high-speed channel.

This process is used, in particular, on telephone lines and twisted-pair physical connections to increase the data rate.

Time-division multiplexing

In time-division multiplexing, also called TDM, the signals from the different low-speed channels are sampled and transmitted successively on the high-speed channel by allocating each channel in turn all of the bandwidth, even if it does not have any data to transmit.

Statistical multiplexing

Statistical multiplexing is similar to time-division multiplexing except that it only transmits low-speed channels that actually have data on the high-speed channel. The name of this type of multiplexing comes from the fact that the multiplexers base their behavior on statistics concerning the data rate of each low-speed channel.
Since the high-speed line does not transmit the empty channels, performance is better than with time-division multiplexing.

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Latest update on October 16, 2008 at 09:43 AM by Jean-François Pillou.

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