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What is Multiplexing?

Multiplexing is a technique used to combine and send the multiple data streams over a single medium. The process of combining the data streams is known as multiplexing and hardware used for multiplexing is known as a multiplexer.

Multiplexing is achieved by using a device called Multiplexer (MUX) that combines n input lines to generate a single output line. Multiplexing follows many-to-one, i.e., n input lines and one output line.

Demultiplexing is achieved by using a device called Demultiplexer (DEMUX) available at the receiving end. DEMUX separates a signal into its component signals (one input and n outputs). Therefore, we can say that demultiplexing follows the one-to-many approach.

Why Multiplexing?

  • The transmission medium is used to send the signal from sender to receiver. The medium can only have one signal at a time.
  • If there are multiple signals to share one medium, then the medium must be divided in such a way that each signal is given some portion of the available bandwidth. For example: If there are 10 signals and bandwidth of medium is100 units, then the 10 unit is shared by each signal.
  • When multiple signals share the common medium, there is a possibility of collision. Multiplexing concept is used to avoid such collision.
  • Transmission services are very expensive.

History of Multiplexing

  • Multiplexing technique is widely used in telecommunications in which several telephone calls are carried through a single wire.
  • Multiplexing originated in telegraphy in the early 1870s and is now widely used in communication.
  • George Owen Squier developed the telephone carrier multiplexing in 1910.

Concept of Multiplexing

  • The 'n' input lines are transmitted through a multiplexer and multiplexer combines the signals to form a composite signal.
  • The composite signal is passed through a Demultiplexer and demultiplexer separates a signal to component signals and transfers them to their respective destinations.

Advantages of Multiplexing:

  • More than one signal can be sent over a single medium.
  • The bandwidth of a medium can be utilized effectively.

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