Telecommunication is the transmission of information, over significant distances, for the purpose of communication. In earlier times, telecommunications involved the use of visual signals, such as beacons, smoke, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs, or audio messages via coded drumbeats, lung-blown horns, or sent by loud whistles, for example. In the modern age of electricity and electronics, telecommunications now also includes the use of electrical devices such as telegraphs, telephones, and teletypes, the use of radio and microwave communications, as well as fiber optics and their associated electronics, plus the use of the orbiting satellites and the Internet.

The first breakthrough into modern electrical telecommunications came with the push to fully develop the telegraph starting in the 1830s. The use of these electrical means of communications exploded into use on all of the continents of the world during the 19th century, and these also connected the continents via cables on the floors of the ocean. The use of the first three popular systems of electrical telecommunications, the telegraph, telephone and teletype, all required the use of conducting metal wires.

A revolution in wireless telecommunications began in the first decade of the 20th century, with Guglielmo Marconi winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 for his pioneering developments in wireless radio communications. Other highly notable pioneering inventors and developers in the field of electrical and electronic telecommunications include Charles Wheatstone and Samuel Morse (telegraph), Alexander Graham Bell (telephone), Nikola Tesla, Edwin Armstrong, and Lee de Forest (radio), as well as John Logie Baird and Philo Farnsworth (television).

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