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modulation

Introduction

modulation, in communications, process in which some characteristic of a wave (the carrier wave) is made to vary in accordance with an information-bearing signal wave (the modulating wave); demodulation is the process by which the original signal is recovered from the wave produced by modulation. The original, unmodulated wave may be of any kind, such as sound or, most often, electromagnetic radiation, including optical waves. The carrier wave can be a direct current, an alternating current, or a pulse chain. In modulation, it is processed in such a way that its amplitude, frequency, or some other property varies.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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